As the summer days wind down and the back-to-school season approaches, it’s time for parents to get ready for another school year. If your child is stepping into kindergarten or heading off to high school, a smooth transition into the new school year requires some preparation. In this piece/column, I’ll share with you some ideas, tips, and strategies for making the most of the new school year.

One of the keys to a successful school year is establishing a consistent daily routine. Begin adjusting bedtimes and wake-up times gradually in the weeks leading up to the start of school. Healthy sleep habits contribute to improved focus, energy levels, and overall well-being. A well-rested student is better equipped to focus and engage in classroom activities.

Check with your child about necessary school supplies. Organizing these essentials in advance reduces stress and ensures a smooth start to the year. For younger children, if possible, involve them in selecting supplies and a backpack. 

If your child has struggled with certain school subjects, consider seeking extra resources or tutoring to provide additional support. To locate resources, reach out to your school administration and teachers. Opening lines of communication with your child’s teachers early in the school year is very essential for family and teacher/school communication and student success. 

Please do your best to attend the back-to-school open-houses to introduce yourself and learn about expectations and goals. Building a positive relationship with teachers can contribute to your child’s success. If you can not join the open-house, please reach out to your child’s school and ask them to accommodate your needs and schedule.

Identify a designated study space at home where they can do school-work. Let your child help choose the space.  If your child does not have internet access at home, please let the teacher know. The school social workers can support you to identify resources.

Encourage your child to think about academic, extracurricular, and personal objectives. Goal-setting instills a sense of purpose and motivation, driving your child to excel.

Support and encourage your child to talk to the social workers and teachers about any anxieties or excitement they may be feeling about the new school year. Addressing their emotions and concerns can help them get ready. One of the things most children need support with is time management skills. Advise them to use calendars and planners. Teachers and school social workers will help your child with time management skills if you let them know their help is desired.

It is very important for you to stay actively involved in your child’s education by attending school events, particularly parent-teacher conferences. In the US, your presence in conferences sends a powerful message to children and schools about your role.

To conclude, preparing for a new school year involves more than just buying school supplies for your child. It’s also about setting the stage for a year of growth, learning, and discovery. Stay connected and ask the school about their expectations for you as a parent. In the U.S., parents are expected to get to know the teachers, social workers, and administrators of the school, and participate in their child’s education.

Dr. Ahmed is the Executive Director of Secondary Education at Portland Public Schools