It’s September, time to head Back to School with GCP! Here is our Checklist of To-Do’s and Don’t Do’s for all of you busy parents:


Meet the Teachers: If your son is in a single classroom all day, have you met his teacher(s)? If he is a middle or high schooler, do you know what he is taking this year and how he feels about his classes so far? Get the teacher’s email address–this can be the best way to ask a quick question or check in during the year. Make sure the teacher checks it regularly before using it though!

Show up, Sign up: Have you volunteered for a classroom and/or school activity? If your working hours make this too tough, have you found a parent/buddy who will keep you in the loop about what is going on at school? Make sure you put the Parent Association meetings in your calendar and plan to attend one of the early ones in the school year. Good way to get the lay of the land and to find that buddy if you need one.


Don’t Pre-Judge the Teacher: Regardless of what you’ve heard about your child’s new teacher from other parents, don’t start the school year with a bad attitude towards him or her. Be friendly and cooperative until there is a clear reason (concerning your child) to act otherwise. Keep eyes and ears open, of course, but stay focused on how this teacher works with your child and this class.


Manage the Schedule: Have you focused on his afterschool activities? Making sure he is not overscheduled and that he is doing things he enjoys?

Lock in Some Playdates: If your child enjoys playdates, make a few with some of his friends from last year to strengthen those ties. Try to include one with a friend in his new class, and one with a former classmate who is now in another class. This will help him to feel good about his return to school friends.


Don’t Sweat the Crankiness: Transitioning back to a full day of school can be tough. Your younger ones may be working hard to hold it together at school, and they can become moody fussbudgets once they get home (where they no longer have to keep it together). They may not want to recount every detail of the day as soon as you see them. Give them a little space and time to adjust.


Do a Tech Check: Have you focused on technology he will need to use for the school year? If your older child uses a laptop, is it in good working order and does he have the means to BACK IT UP ( an external hard drive is best)? This is really important; neither he nor you will want to deal with his losing work following a computer crash. What technology does your younger child need access to at home? You can ask the teacher about this.

Create a Study Space: Have you made sure your son has a good space in your home in which to study? Free of obvious distractions (no TV nearby), a comfortable chair and a good reading light?

Calendar Check: If he has regular homework assignments, does he have a calendar/assignment book? If the school doesn’t provide one, get one for him and help him figure out how to use it to keep track of his short and long term homework assignment and projects. Some students prefer to keep their calendars on their phones. This works best, of course, if they are not easily distracted by the 7 zillion other things going on with their phones.


Don’t Let Bedtime Slide: After a summer of bedtime at “whenever” time, it will be very tempting to allow your children to continue the later bedtime into the fall. Wrong move. Adjusting to the new school year is even harder if you are sleepy all the time. As tough as it may be to initially enforce, move that bedtime up so that your child can get a full night’s sleep.

Use your checklist, and your child will be off to a great start for the school year. Any to-do’s or don’t do’s to add? Send them our way!