Top 10 Tips for Starting a Successful School Year

Tips for parents, ranging from getting your kids out the door on time for school to what teachers wish parents would do.

When my kids were little, my wish for the start of the school year was pretty basic. It started with making sure the kids were dressed, had breakfast, and were out the door on time and not still in their pajamas.  Easier said than done.

There were all kinds of strategies:

  1. Lay out clothes the night before.
  2. Practice putting shoes on.
  3. Set the alarm.
  4. Forget laces and invest in Velcro.
  5. Darn, set the alarm for 15 minutes earlier.
  6. Explain what it means to eat your breakfast.
  7. Ignore socks that don’t match.
  8. Get homework, backpack, jacket ready the night before.
  9. Ooops. Get kids to bed 15 minutes earlier.
  10. Special Rule: It’s okay if mom is still in pajamas if she is driving kids to school. No one will see.


We all know there is a lot more to student success than just getting to school on time. But as Woody Allen once said, "90 percent of life is just showing up.”

Here are some additional tips from the California State Parent Teacher Association (PTA):


Ten Things Teachers Wish Parents Would Do

1. Be involved in your children’s education. Parent involvement helps students learn, improves schools, and makes teachers’ jobs easier.

2. Provide resources at home for reading and learning.  Have books and magazines for your children and read with your children each day.

3. Set a good example. Show that you believe reading is enjoyable and useful. And it can be reading in any language.

4. Encourage children to do their best. Children need to be guided to set obtainable goals.

5. Confirm that academics are of primary concern, followed by preparation for the adult job and involvement in athletics and other extracurricular activities.

6. Support school rules and goals. Take care not to undermine school rules, discipline, or goals.

7. Use pressure positively. Encourage children while being careful not to apply too much pressure by setting unrealistic goals or by involving children in too many activities.

8. Call teachers as soon as a problem becomes apparent, so prompt action can be taken.

9. Exercise parental responsibility. Don’t expect the school or teachers to take over this job. For example, teaching basic discipline is a parental rather than a school responsibility.

10. Understand that alcohol use and excessive partying are problems. They take a serious toll on a student’s health and classroom performance.

You can find more resources to help start a new school year on the state PTA's website. Everyone is invited to join PTA as we work to improve the lives of California’s children.

Carol Kocivar is the president of the California Parent Teacher Association.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Linda August 17, 2012 at 04:52 PM
We always treated school as our children's job and valued it accordingly. It was what they did each day as responsible people - show up on time, do your work to the best of your ability, understand that school prepares you for life so there will be good time and hard times.
Geoff Burton August 17, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I've always told my kids that school is their job, I'm glad I'm not alone in that .As parents we owe it to our kids to be effective supervisors,
Mary Brandenburg August 17, 2012 at 07:03 PM
@Carol, thanks for the tips. I left you a message on your Patch message board/profile.
Sheryl Shaker August 20, 2012 at 05:54 PM
These are great tips, George! Thank you for sharing them on Patch.
L.A. Chung August 21, 2012 at 01:29 AM
My son's first day of school was today at a new school. Lots of change. Thank you for the tips!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »