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Starting the New School Year on the Right Foot

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: Noreen Gunnell • updated: 8/2/2012

The new school year is quickly approaching, and parents everywhere want their children to have a great year. You'll be happy to hear there's a lot you can do to help. Follow these tips and your child is sure to start off on the right foot this year.

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    Meet the Teacher

    Don't listen to gossip about whether or not a teacher is good. Every teacher will be someone's favorite and someone's nightmare. Instead, make it a point to start off the new school year right by attending that first "meet the teacher" night. Be friendly, and make sure the teacher knows who you are. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Teachers don't mind, and being aware of what goes on in class will help you keep your child informed. Smile, and don't appear critical. You want to make a good impression, just as you would when meeting anyone for the first time. Don't bring up lengthy problems or concerns during this first meeting. Save that for a private, scheduled conference. Make sure to go home and say nice things about the teacher. Surely you can find something good to say that will help your child feel positive about being in the classroom.

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    Being Prepared

    To start off on the right foot this year, be sure your child is always prepared for class. Always read the papers in your child's back pack. Post any calendars or newsletters on the refrigerator so that you can see at a glance when tests are given or what day your child needs to bring snacks. Children need to feel prepared in order to be confident at school. Younger children need more help from parents in this area. Older children should be given more responsibility in being prepared for class.

    Make it a commitment to help your child study for tests and support them in completing homework assignments. Rules about doing homework before playing may be needed to ensure a decent bedtime and fresher day ahead. Provide a good study spot for your child. Make this area free of distractions and away from siblings. Insist that siblings respect homework time, and stay away from the child who is working.

    Being prepared means that your child is home at an early hour on school nights. Bath time and bedtime shouldn't be rushed because you've been out late. That makes for a stressful evening for both parent and child. Lay out clothes the night before, and the next morning will be much smoother.

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    Foster Positive Relationships

    A new school year usually means new friends. Some children find it easy to make new friends, but for some kids, it can be very difficult. To ensure that your child starts the new school year right, encourage new friendships by inviting some kids from your child's class over for a play date. This is a great way to help your child make friends in a comfortable setting.

    Older kids should be allowed to attend school events, like football games whenever possible. These events are important because they are great opportunities for kids to make new friends. Involvement in school activities is a great idea, but be sure to keep it down to 1 or 2 activities. Don't overwhelm your child by signing him up for multiple classes and sports.

    Every parent wants their child to have a great school year. While some things can't be controlled, there are many things that parents can do to ensure a stress-free, happy school year.