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Tips for Back-to-School Success

It's around the corner! Ease your kids back into the education mindset with these six sage pieces from Huntington Learning Center in Canton, Michigan

With summer coming to a close, many southeast Michigan kids are resisting trading that fun, leisurely schedule for the school routine.

"End of summer is bittersweet for some children, while others are much more fearful about going back to the classroom," says Wie Pan, director of Huntington Learning Center of Canton, Michigan – part of the long-running, nationwide supplemental education services provider. "No matter what your child's demeanor, it is beneficial for parents to prepare their child for the change."

Pan offers these six tips to get your child – and family! – to head back to school.

1. Take your child back-to-school shopping

Spending a day together buying school supplies – and maybe even a new back-to-school outfit – is a fun way to get into the school mode, and a good opportunity to let your child tell you the things he or she thinks will help make him or her successful. It's also a great chance for parents to have one-on-one conversations with their children about any goals they have for the year, and how they can be supportive of their kids.

2. Introduce your child ahead of time to another classmate or two

A few weeks before the first day of school, reconnect with friends from last year who will be in your child's new class. If your child is new to the school, look around your neighborhood to find other children of the same age. A back-to-school night may be a good opportunity to meet other classmates, too!

3. Plan on getting extra help

For students who struggled in the previous school year, the idea of going back to school may be especially stressful. Summer is a great time to build skills and improve weaker areas, but if your summer was focused on other things, now is a great time to investigate supplemental education services for your child. Talk to his or her teacher in advance about problem areas and how the two of you can work together to get your child off on the right foot.

4. Set an optimistic tone

As a parent, you have a lot of influence on your child's attitude toward school. Show him or her through your actions that learning is fun and a part of everyday life. Teach your child to value effort and hard work. Your child needs to understand, too, that failure is something we all experience; what matters is how we learn from it and move forward.

5. Be prepared

Many schools have an orientation a month or so before school starts, which gives parents the information they need about school supplies, dress code, required forms, transportation and more. Being organized and on top of all school requirements will minimize first-week stresses for both you and your child.

6. Meet the teacher

Your school may host a meet-your-teacher day, which is a great opportunity for your child to get to know his or her new teacher before the first day. If not, ask the school if you and your child can come in another time before school starts. Get familiar with the school layout and other school resources that will help your child (the guidance counselor and speech therapist, for example). Let your child's teacher know that you look forward to working together this year.

The beginning of a new school year is full of excitement and promise, and parents can set the tone at home so that their children see it that way, too. "Let your child know that he or she has a strong support system in you and his or her teacher," says Pan. "And remember that when it comes to going back to school, a little preparation and a good attitude can go a long way."

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