August is a month of great anticipation. While wrapping up summer vacation, parents and students are looking ahead to the new school year. The Back To School sale ads are coming in the mail and it’s a mad rush to the first day of school.

It can be difficult in this transition time. Switching gears from the summer months to the structure of the school year can be nerve-racking for parents and children – but it doesn’t have to be.

It’s about teamwork between the student, the parent, and the teacher to make things easier. I had the great opportunity to talk to Tim Tooten of WBAL-TV 11 to share some helpful tips for parents during this time of the year. If you missed the segment or wanted more information, here are the my Top 5 Tips for parents helping their elementary and middle-school aged children adjust – and excel – once they return to the classroom.

Tip #1: Make a Back-to-School Transition Plan, Together

Involve your child in deciding when to roll back bedtime hours, purchasing school supplies, and preparing and stocking the homework space. It will relieve beginning school jitters, and, because your child was involved in the decision-making, it will help he/she to take ownership in the process and pride in the results.

Tip #2: Establish that Making Mistakes is OK

So many children and parents see mistakes as a negative experience. It can create undue stress and anxiety that hinders student performance. Making mistakes shows that students are learning! Parents: discuss small, daily mistakes you might make, what you learned from the mistakes, and how you plan to move forward. Your child will learn from them.

Tip #3: Spark Student-to-Teacher Communication

It’s common for students to struggle in communicating with their teachers about everyday issues or challenges. Resist the urge to be the parent who immediately jumps in to save the day. Instead, encourage your child to ask questions and self-advocate. At home, use role-play conversations that will prepare your child to discuss how to handle challenges like forgetting homework or failing a test. 

Tip #4: Set Realistic Goals Early

Encourage your child to brainstorm academic, social, and emotional goals such as making a new friend or helping the teacher in the classroom. Envisioning the school year helps students think about what they want to achieve and how they will accomplish their long-term dreams. 

Tip #5: Emphasize Asking Questions

When children ask thoughtful questions about what they are learning, they actually remember more because they are actively engaged in the process. Create a climate of questions in your home by encouraging your child to ask questions about events, family members, and news events.