It's never easy leave the carefree fun of summer and head back to the structure and rules of the classroom, but with a simple list of back-to-school dos and don'ts from teachers and child development professionals across the country, you can help your child have a successful school year and—yes—even enjoy being back in the classroom.

Do help children transition from summer to school. According to Marcy Willard of the Child Family and School Psychology program at the University of Denver: "Parents can help their children be ready for school by attending back-to-school night and/or taking your child on a tour of the school and the classroom he'll be attending. These activities go a long way to reduce anxiety in kids on the first day of school."

Do introduce yourself to the teacher. "The most important thing you can do in school is stay engaged in your child's education," says National PTA president Charles J. "Chuck" Saylors. "When you build partnerships with teachers, administrators and other parents, your child reaps the benefits, from improved grades to stronger self-esteem."

Do keep the learning going outside the classroom. "Any activity is an opportunity for learning," Marcy says. "Count soccer balls, for example. 'If I had 10 soccer balls and I took seven away, how many would I have left?'"

Do build up your child's self-esteem. "As educators, we're told to offer praise and constructive criticism in a 5:1 ratio," says Erin Pier of the Clayton Early Learning Center in Colorado. "I've learned that when this rule is followed, children are much happier and confident, and thus more willing to hear where they could improve." So, praise your child's efforts, listen when she talks, celebrate her creativity, applaud her good behavior, leave notes of encouragement in her backpack and make every effort to build her confidence.

Get a list of back-to-school don'ts


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