Four tips for parents of first-time schoolers
Pictured is Kate Blatz, who will start kindergarten at Bay Elementary School next week. “So excited to be with my big sister and to go to school all day. It’s going to be really cool to make a lot of friends,” Kate said.

Courtesy of Amy Blatz

Four tips for parents of first-time schoolers

Story By: GLENN ROHRBACKER
8/29/2019


Going back to school means getting back to the same grind of meals, rides, sports, clubs … and going back to running on autopilot. But there is a subset of parents who don’t have these seasoned routines, because it’s their first time having a child go off to school every day. 

If you are a parent who will drop off your little one or watch them climb the steps of the bus for the first time next week, here is some advice that has helped other parents find success for their children.

 

  1. Be involved

One of the top suggestions was to be involved in your child’s education. Join the PTA, volunteer for something, or even just sit with them for homework.

“It makes such a difference in how they feel about school and learning when [you’re] involved with them,” said Amy Thomas, a parent in the Patchogue-Medford School District. 

A school education doesn’t just stay within the school walls, parents said. It takes a village to raise a child, so be involved with all the people who have influence. Parents suggest asking a lot of questions, talking with teachers, and even being present in the classroom when appropriate. 

“Parents need to understand that education does not stop at the school door,” added Thomas Schultz, a parent in the South Country School District. “They need to be heavily involved with all aspects of their children's education.”

Getting involved also gives you a chance to meet other parents, including those who have been through this before. 

 

  1. Work with teachers

Teachers are there to support your child and want them to succeed, just as you do. Feel free to be open with teachers about your child’s experience and let them know the concerns you have, if any.

“When talking with your child’s teachers or the administration, always believe they have your child’s best interest at heart,” said Leslie O’Connor, a parent in the South Country School District. “Work with them for your child’s benefit.”

 

  1. Give support and independence

“Give your kids expectations with enough room for them to learn to be independent,” said William Floyd parent Louise Siegel.

Another aspect of a child’s education, parents say, is growth. Independence is crucial to that growth. Children should be able to learn new skills in both academics and life.

“Don't be a helicopter parent,” said Phyllisa Fleming-Bender, a parent in the William Floyd School District. “Your child needs to learn to stand on their own, deal with disappointments and learn coping skills. This will better prepare your child for school, work and life.”

“Always support your child and give them room to breathe,” added Floyd parent Anna Maria.

 

  1. Take advantage of opportunities

Every school district has opportunities to help children succeed and for parents to get involved. Whether it’s sports, music, art, clubs, or something else, parents say these extracurriculars help to round out students’ experience and help them grow as people. 

“After-school activities are just as important as academic skills,” said Debbie Loesch, a parent from Patchogue-Medford.

For more information on specific programs that are available, talk with your child’s teacher or visit the district’s website.