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Back to School! Tips for VA Parents to Get Students Excited

The Virginia Education Association has some good ideas for parents as they help their kids face the new school year. (Martin Vorel/Libreshot)
The Virginia Education Association has some good ideas for parents as they help their kids face the new school year. (Martin Vorel/Libreshot)
August 22, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. — If your child is nervous about going back to school, Virginia teachers have some good ideas to help turn those nerves into excitement.

Jim Livingston, president of the Virginia Education Association and long-time middle school math teacher said it's important that parents set a positive tone about the new school year. In some families, the annual ritual of buying new school clothes and supplies can help get students excited. But however you do it, Livingston said, it's good for your children to see that you value education.

"Teachers know that in order for children to be successful, the teachers and parents have to be working together,” Livingston said. "And it's important to have those conversations early, and it's important to have those conversations often."

More back-to-the-classroom tips are posted on the Virginia Education Association website at

Livingston emphasized getting a child into a healthy routine - eating right, getting enough sleep - as part of giving the school day structure. He said hungry or sleepy kids have a hard time learning. And reading to your children - and in front of them - helps them enjoy and see the importance of learning.

"Model reading to them, encourage them to read, provide them the resources to read,” Livingston said. "They will become more interested in reading if they see that you as an adult are much more interested in reading."

Helping with homework and volunteering at the school can also tell your child that you value their education, Livingston said. He also suggested keeping a calendar - either on paper or on a phone for older students - as a vital step in keeping kids organized. Overall, it's very important for a parent to be aware of, and connected to, what's going on at school.

"Listen to what your children are saying,” Livingston said. "And oftentimes you need to listen to what they're not saying - if they're not talking about school, if they're not talking about their school day, you need to know why."

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA