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Back to School Success Tips for Elementary Parents

Back-to-school advice for parents with children in elementary school!


By Erin D’Addio

It’s getting to be that time of year again…..BACK TO SCHOOL!!! I can hear the parents cheering, the children moaning, and the teachers scrambling to get everything done before your little one walks through their classroom door. As an elementary teacher I have many things to do before the first bell rings. Parents often ask how they can get their child ready for the start of the year. Below are a few suggestions I hope parents will find helpful in making the beginning of the year successful.

  • Unless you have received a school supply list directly from your new teacher, save yourself a trip to the school supply aisle until after you have received your new teacher’s list. Many of the lists you find at the local stores are generic lists of “possible” items a school or grade level may need.   When you get the list, if there is something you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask the teacher for clarification. School supplies can add up! If you are having a difficult time purchasing the items on the list, let your teacher know. Teachers usually have extra supplies for this purpose.

  • If you have the means, ask the teacher if there are items not on the school supply list that he/she may need. There are a lot of items teachers are no longer allowed to put on school supply lists, but need them for the classroom. The teacher ends up spending the money for these items. Some examples of these items are; Clorox wipes, Ziploc bags, whiteboard markers, individual packaged snacks, and white copy paper.

  • If your school has an “Open House” or “Meet the Teacher” night before school opens, try to attend. This alleviates stress for the child because they get to meet their new teacher with the comfort of his/her parents there. They also get to see their classroom and this will make the first day a little less scary.

  • Don’t be afraid to email your new teacher. If your school sends out the name of your child’s teacher before school starts, don’t hesitate to look up your new teacher’s email address on the school website. This establishes an instant line of communication with your new teacher. It also tells the teacher you are a parent that will be involved and reachable when he/she may need you.

  • Make sure to go over the paperwork that comes home on the first day. It is usually a lot of signature signing, but it is important information your teacher and school need. Try to get these back as soon as possible.

  • Many states have adopted a new set of standards called “Common Core”. These standards will expect more from your child at a younger age. The way we were taught is long gone and you will be surprised at how much your little one will need to know.

  • One last tip, send your child to school with a little homemade craft or even an apple. This small gesture puts a big smile on any classroom teacher’s face. Believe it or not, the teacher is also feeling those “First Day Jitters”. I’ve been doing this for 10 years and I still can’t sleep the night before school starts!

I hope some of the above tips will help you get through the first day of school a little easier. I will be writing helpful tips throughout the school year so come back and check! Have a fabulous first day of school and try not to cry too much, I’m talking to you, Mom and Dad!



  1. Mo Breden /

    Great post.

  2. Jennette Cronk /

    These tips are great for students of all ages.. Meet-the-teacher/open house was almost always empty for me. Teenagers are still children, and it is so important for parents to be involved in their school life. HS teachers enjoy meeting the students before school starts too! I never needed an apple, but I sure could have used a pack of dry-erase markers!!

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