Back-to-School Tips for Students and Parents

Today is the first day of school for my boys.  Matt, a seventh-grader, is very excited about going to middle school.  I took him to orientation last week and he has it all figured out:  class schedule, locker combination, lunch time, the whole deal.   Nate, who is a high school senior this year, is not as anxious to go back.  What he IS happy about is the fact that this is his last year of school.  He’s already busy with college visits and applications.

I’ve put together a list of tips for both students and parents.  Getting a good education is the foundation for a successful future.  School should be a fun time, but at the same time, you need to make good choices.  Read through the lists and share your feedback in the comments area.

School buses in the fall

Photo: Larry Darling (Creative Commons) on Flickr®


  • Don’t skip breakfast or lunch.  Your body and brain need fuel to stay in good shape.
  • Stay current with your homework assignments.  If you miss a day of school, contact your teacher(s) for a list of work that needs to be completed.  You might also want to contact a fellow student to find out what went on the day you were out.
  • If you have questions or don’t understand something, make sure you ask the teacher right away.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Chances are — someone else has the same question.   This is especially true in math class.  Many times, one concept builds on another, so it’s really important to ‘get it’ before moving on.
  • Use your school planner.  Many schools provide their students with a planner.  If your school doesn’t provide one, get one and use it.    It’s really important to keep track of assignments, test dates and other important school-related events.
  • Remember to bring home anything and everything you need to do your assignments.
  • Do YOUR personal best.  Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • All work and no play makes for a pretty boring day.  Allow some time for exercise or something that you enjoy. Do your work.  Study.  But don’t burn yourself out.
  • Limit your television, phone and computer use during school days.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Wash your hands!
  • Don’t get all upset if your mom or dad pushes you to do your best.  They only want you to be successful.  Hey:  We all need a little nudge sometimes!
  • Remember:  you’re not perfect:  you’re a student!


  • Be involved.  Stay involved.
  • Each evening, ask your child what they did at school that day.  What was the best part of their day?  The worst part?  Talk through the issues.
  • Get to know the teacher.  You don’t have to be a room-parent or be at the school all the time.  Use e-mail and the telephone to stay in contact with your child’s teacher.  Let the teacher know that you want to be a part of your child’s learning process.  Invite the teacher to contact you if there is ANY issue or trouble involving your student.
  • Attend as many school-related events as you can.  It boosts your child’s morale and it keeps you in the loop on what’s going on.
  • If you have ANY questions or concerns, communicate early-on.
  • Make sure your student eats a healthy breakfast.
  • Kids will get sick.  Do everything you can to keep them well.  Proper diet, rest, and hand-washing are three good ideas to help keep them well.
  • A strict ‘electronics policy’ can help kids focus on their school work.  At our house, there’s no television, video games or computer time during the school week.
  • Help your student plan ahead.  It’s easy to get in a pinch where several projects are due the same week.  Make sure your student understands that planning and budgeting his time are two important life lessons that will keep him on track.
  • Know when to give a little nudge and know when to back off a little bit.  It’s a fine line sometimes; let your intuition guide you.
  • Try to plan your evening meals.  We’re not always 100% successful, but my wife and I try our best to use the weekend to figure out what we’re going to have for dinner during the coming week.  Thank goodness for our slow-cooker and re-sealable plastic containers!   There’s nothing worse than coming home from work and wondering what we’re going to have for dinner.
  • Remember:  you’re not perfect; you’re a parent!


Your turn:  what tips, tricks or advice do you have for back-to-school time?  You can leave a comment here.

About the Author

Michael Hawkins

I am a husband, father, writer, and blogger. I am passionate about helping people make good choices.

  • Lisa R

    Even though we homeschool, a lot of your tips still apply. Enjoyed reading them. I also have one boy in middle school and one boy in high school. It’s been cool teaching them and watching them learn over the past six years (We’re about to start our seventh year of homeschool.) Hope your boys have a great year!

    • Michael Hawkins

      Lisa – Thanks for the comment. Wow…seven years of homeschooling. I’m in awe of that. Seriously.

      All the best to you and your boys for a super-successful school year!