Wednesday’s Parent: Tips for a new school year


Raising college-bound children is challenging, costly and stressful. Whether you are the parent of a preschooler or a college freshman, there are parenting tips and strategies to help your student achieve success. Wednesday’s Parent is a new parent series shared by your very own POCSmom Wendy David-Gaines and college prep expert Suzanne Shaffer.

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link in the article from to and vice versa.

The first installment in the Wednesday’s Parent series is about ways to help your student attend a new school and have a successful new school year.


parent separation anxiety

Cartoon courtesy of College Parents of America

This week, Wednesday’s parent takes at look at back to school with some tips for a new school year. Do you take first day of school photos of your kids? I did. I loved seeing how much they had grown and how the fashion trends changed. For parents (especially after a very long summer) back to school day was a day of rejoicing. Finally, the house becomes quiet and you can have a little bit of time to yourself.

What does “back to school” mean to you? If your student is moving to a new school it probably means uncertainty and stress. Anytime your student enters a new environment they will be anxious; but there are ways you can ease those back to school jitters.

Chill Out

Let your student express their concerns and help them relax about it. Preschoolers are entering school for the first time; middle schoolers now have added responsibility like changing classes and locker combinations; high school students’ lives begin to revolve around their peers; and college students are on their own to flounder in a whole new world of responsibility and accountability. Open conversations will help them lower their stress level.

Be the parent and “man up”

Yes. I said, “man up”. The sad reality is that today’s parent doesn’t know how to let go. It’s your responsibility to communicate confidence, excitement and joy about the new environment. If they witness you crying, whining and generally unhappy, they will mimic your feelings. Positive parents raise positive children.

You may be in homework hell

As your student gets older and moves on in their academic track, the homework will increase; and so will the drama. If you are frustrated, just imagine how your student feels. Pay close attention and if you witness your student floundering with the new material, hire a tutor, such as tutors at Takelessons, or get help from the teacher or tutoring labs. If you nip the problem in the bud early, he/she won’t be nearly as frustrated in high school and college

Look out for added peer pressure

New school means new bullies. Unfortunately, it even happens in college. Prepare your student for those encounters by fortifying their self-esteem. Use every opportunity to encourage, hug, support and love on them. Coping with peer pressure is very stressful for students (and their parents). Be proactive and get involved if you have to. This is one area that it’s ok to be a helicopter parent.

Make new friends

Yes. Parents need to make new friends, just like their students. Get involve in parent organizations. This applies to all age groups, even at the college level. Colleges have parent groups too—join them. Volunteer when needed and this helps you stay abreast of what is happening at the school. And don’t tell anyone, but it’s easier to check up on your student when you’re there!

Be a buttinsky (but only if necessary)

Keep your antenna up and ready to spot any problems that require parent involvement. No. This doesn’t mean you need to hover over your student. But it does mean that, especially at new schools and in new environments, the students encounter problems that need adult intervention. Do not, however, get on the phone every day and become one of those parents school officials detest. You know the ones: their student is never wrong and the teacher is never right.

Sing a new song

New school New attitude. What’s past is past and the future is the future. Leave those negative experiences behind and look forward to the new school year with excitement and anticipation. It’s a new start for your student and a new start for you.

Parenting never changes. Whether you have a preschooler or a college student the premise is always the same: you want the best for your kids. Who doesn’t love a fresh start? (I actually saw you smile when you read this.) Have a great school year!

For more new school (year) tips head over to the POCSMom’s blog and read her take on tips for a new school year.

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One Response to “Wednesday’s Parent: Tips for a new school year”

  1. […] Read on for Suzanne Shaffer’s tips for a new school (year). Enjoy your fresh start and have a great school year! […]