Let’s face it: Kids aren’t the only ones with a lot of work to do at back-to-school time. Not only do you need to shop for school clothes and supplies; you also have to sign countless forms and make decisions about your family’s new routine. The good news is that by doing a little homework, you can look forward to a less stressful, more productive school year.

Background

Know when and how the school will notify you of your child’s new teacher and what school supplies she will need. Call the school office if you have questions. Now is the time to find out whether your son needs to bring a change of clothes for gym class or what to do if your daughter must take medication during the day.

Research Project

Check with your child’s school, the school district, or the state department of education to find out what your child will be expected to learn this year. For extra credit, seek out videos, books, and enrichment activities to help your child master the material.

School Rules

Before classes start, outline your family’s ground rules for completing homework, doing chores, watching television, playing video games, and other activities. Establish school-night bedtimes and talk with your children about their morning and after-school routines.

Discussion Period

Talk with your kids about their worries or concerns for the new school year. Try to convey the importance of education, but don’t put too much pressure on them to be perfect.

Required Reading

Take time to review all the paperwork from the school as it arrives. Read the school handbook, paying particular attention to the procedures for keeping a sick child home, visiting the school, and taking your child to appointments during school hours. Submit sign-up forms and permission slips promptly, and watch for notices about how you can volunteer at school.

Writing Assignment

Mark important events on a family calendar, including school holidays and extracurricular activities. If you don’t have an opportunity to talk with your child’s teacher before the first day of school, write her a short note telling her about your child’s special interests, hobbies, strengths, and weaknesses to help her get to know your child faster.

Emily Graham is a senior editor for School Family Media. She lives with her family in Oklahoma.