Back to school is a time of increased excitement, but it can also be accompanied by anxiety or stress about new teachers, new classmates or increased workloads.  As a parent, you may wonder what you can do to set your child up for success in school and to help them achieve his or her potential academically. 

Set your child up for success

Children thrive on routine.  Whether they are three years old or thirteen years old, there is comfort in structure - knowing what is going to happen and when.  During the day, children follow a routine in the classroom, and there is no reason why a routine can’t continue when they leave school.  Children also thrive on positive energy. It’s up to parents to help their children succeed, and often times that might mean placing an emphasis on “effort over outcome”. 

Recognizing Changes and Identifying stress

There are key times when school pressures are at their peak.  It’s during this time that you are more likely to see heightened behavior changes or acting out.  Understanding changes in your child’s behavior can be crucial to recognizing the signs of pressure and stress.

Understand that problems between a student and a teacher may be as simple as personality issues.  A shy and quiet student may feel overwhelmed by a loud or boisterous teacher.  

So, when do you worry?

Look for changes in behaviors that may indicate problems:  signs of bullying (both your child being the victim and the perpetrator) or signs of increased frustration that may be the results of a learning disability. 

Demeanor changes:  does your child seem to be acting out of character?  This can mean being quieter or louder than usual.  Does your child no longer want to go to school? 

Once you’ve spotted a red flag, you need to balance working with your child’s school and possibly a professional.  Talk with teachers about concerns and avoid being defensive when you hear candid feedback about your child.

Take concerns to the school early.  Waiting is almost never the answer.

Remember- failure is a part of life as well.  Children can sometimes learn more from their failures than they can from their success. 

Setting your child up for success is an important part of being a parent.  Remember, when it comes to setting your child up for success:

 • Establish a consistent after-school routine as children find comfort in structure.

• Have a break in-between school and homework in order to recharge batteries.

• Avoid making homework a source of stress and find ways to make learning fun.

• Set your child up for success by not trying to “re-do” your own childhood.

• Always compliment and reward hard work, even if the result is something small.