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April 7, 2011

The first day of school is just around the corner, and children everywhere are tying up the family phone to find out who has which teacher and what stores have the most stylish clothing. For children, these are the most important issues at hand, affecting how they perceive their role at school. However, for parents the emphasis is a bit different. As parents we wish for our children’s success in school. This starts with communication within the family unit, whether both parents reside under the same roof or not. To assist your child’s assimilation into the new school year, both parents should discuss back to school shopping, what current clothing trends are age appropriate, and agree on what will be purchased by whom. Parents also need to determine the study habits they wish to encourage and how to oversee homework time. It is important to remember that both children and parents need to be accountable. If children alternate between two households, consistent rules need to be decided upon and enforced by both parents.

Communication is the key. Plan on a nice family dinner to discuss the first day of school. Ask open-ended questions to encourage your child to talk about their day. Often areas of interest center around social aspects; whether they made new friends, how their new teacher was, how they found their way around (especially if your child is starting at a new school), and whether they sat with anyone at lunch. This type of communication will serve parents well when those teacher conferences roll around, as well as increase the quality of your relationship with your child.