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Friday, September 04, 2020 - Back-to-school tips to help get the year off to a smart start

To help calm your child's nerves before the first day of school, spend some time the night before choosing and laying out their clothes for the big day. You might also tuck them in with a back-to-school bedtime story. (Stock photo)

By Alexis Dill MS PLMFT, adill@stph.org

From organization to homework, getting back into a regular school schedule can be a challenging task for children and caregivers alike. A little advance planning, however, can make the experience easier for everyone involved.

Below, find handy tips provided by The Parenting Center to help with the back-to-school transition:

  • Begin by setting your child’s sleep schedule back to school time two weeks before the first day.
  • Remind them that there will be a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day, since most children at any age are a little nervous. Talk about their worries, fears and concerns.
  • Choose and set out any clothes, headbands, shoes and socks with your child the night before school.
  • Go over your morning routine with your child in detail ahead of time so they know what to expect.
  • Particularly with younger children, make sure the child is familiar with the school. Drive by it multiple times and talk to them about their first day.
  • Read a back-to-school story together the night before school.
  • Parents can manage their own back-to-school stress by staying consistent and creating a routine.
  • Establish a good sleep routine. Lack of sleep can lower academic achievement and performance in students.

Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world, and The Parenting Center is here for you! If discipline is something you struggle with within your home environment, please reach out! We are here to help.

At $20, we offer parenting coaching by appointment, so call The Parenting Center to set up an appointment with one of our educators for guidance and assistance on how to incorporate positive discipline into your own household.


Below, find descriptions of upcoming Parenting Center classes for parents and new siblings. For details and a full calendar of events, visit STPH.org/Parenting Center, email adill@stph.org or call 985-898-4435.

  • On Thursdays, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the Parenting Center will host a Baby and Me Support Group. The class is open to the public and free. It will be facilitated by our Education Coordinator, Alexis Dill. This weekly group provides socialization for new babies as well as a time for new parents to collaborate and talk about new parent struggles. For details visit STPH.org/Parenting Center, email adill@stph.org or call 985-898-4435.
  • Looking for a new Play Group in town? Join us for our age-specific play groups. Our preschool-age play group will meet Sept. 8, 15, and 22 at 10:30 a.m., and our toddler play group will meet Sept. 9, 16, and 23 at 10:30 a.m. For details visit STPH.org/Parenting Center, email cfouquet@stph.org or call 985-898-4435.
  • Join us Sept. 14, 21, and 28 from 6 to 8  p.m. for our Active Parenting class! This three-week course is designed to aid parents in becoming active parents in their child’s life using active communication. This class encourages parents to build on their child’s strengths, avoid power struggles and learn effective discipline skills. Parents role play, complete assignments as a group and learn skills to achieve a fuller, more satisfying family life. A certificate of attendance and snacks are provided. Partial scholarships are available as needed. Space is limited. Cost is $80 per person and includes class book and workbook. For details visit STPH.org/Parenting Center, email adill@stph.org or call 985-898-4435.
  • On Sept. 19 from 9 a.m. to noon, the Parenting Center will host a Boot Camp for New Dads. The class is open to the public and costs $15. It will be facilitated by veteran fathers and will teach rookie dads the realities of fatherhood. Topics include caring for Mom and baby. For details visit STPH.org/Parenting Center, email adill@stph.org or call 985-898-4435.
Alexis Dill is a provisionally licensed marriage and family therapist. She serves as education coordinator at St. Tammany Health System’s Parenting Center and can be reached at adill@stph.org.