A new school year calls for everyone in the family to adapt to different schedules and more responsibilities. Hopefully, your family’s transition from summer mindset to school mindset has gone smoothly and a successful routine has been established

The first month of school sets the tone for the rest of the year, impacting the child’s behavior, attitude and emotion toward school and learning.  After the initial excitement of the “new school year” wears off parents can do three things to help support a positive school experience.

Tip 1: Be conscious of your feelings and what you communicate to your child.  Children pick up on parent anxiety.  You want to show a positive attitude, calm demeanor and interest in your child’s school day. Remember to smile.  Do not bombard your child with detailed questions about school.  Wait to probe. Be sure your caregivers adopt this stance too.

Tip 2: Show attuned listening when your child has had time to decompress. Put your phone in a drawer, turn of the computer and be with your child.  Model what it means to listen and care.  Make this time a routine!  The child might be drawing or playing but you are there with him or her, learning how your child is adjusting.  Some start-up questions: Who showed you something new today?  Or what games did you play at recess?   These questions might open other doors of information.  After this dialog move to a subject-based question if you wish.  Keep it simple and keep smiling.

Tip 3: Attend meet the teacher night.  This event is different than parent-teacher conferences. Your goals are to make your presence and your child’s presence known to the teacher and also to learn how to contact the teacher.  Find out the preferred method of communication. Some teachers are doing text-messaging.  Shake the teacher’s hand, let them know that you want to be involved and tell them something special about your child so they will remember them!  Building this relationship is important for a successful school experience.