According to the experts, these are a few of the conversations that every parent should have as kids go back to school.

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Establish goals for the new school year


“The overall year goal may be to advance to the next grade but what about smaller goals?” said Tabatha Ferrer, LMSW, and CEO of The 4AIR Project in a recent article via “Does your child want to be student of the month? Does your child want to audition for a team? Does the child want to make new friends?”

Establishing goals for the new school year will give your child something to work towards and will help them focus on what they want for themselves educationally. Achieving the goals that they set for themselves can be empowering and can lay the foundation for their future goal setting and accomplishments.

After establishing goals, set expectations on both sides

Both parents and children will have expectations for the upcoming school year. As you all establish what you want to accomplish, you all need to set expectations as you go forward. Setting expectations shows your children what you will hold them accountable for and what they are expecting from you as well.

Timmesha Butler, psychotherapist and owner of Mastery Counseling and Consulting LLC provided examples in the Essence article of how parents may set examples with their children. “In addition to some of your individual expectations add the following: I expect you to learn, I expect you to face challenges, I expect you to respect yourself, your peers, and school staff. I expect you to be tired and exhausted some days, I expect you to have days that feel easy, and most of all I expect you to make every day your best one.”

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Discuss transitioning from the summer routine to the back-to-school one

“Identify and discuss morning routines, [and] bedtime routines,” said Ferrer. “Will their child be attending any after-school activities, will there be family time and check-ins weekly? If the parent has a younger child, it is important to inform them of who will pick them up from school and if there are any changes with the pickup person.”

Having a family meeting and establishing how you all will transition from the summer routine back to the back-to-school one, will eliminate stress for everyone. You may even go a step further than just talking. Create a schedule or calendar and post it where everyone can see. 

Discuss how to deal with peer pressure

“Peer pressure is likely to happen to your child, and you are not always going to be in the position to control it,” says Butler. “Let them know that you understand how difficult it can be to avoid the negative peer pressure, however, whenever they choose to engage in negative peer pressure they must be willing to deal with the consequences. Let them know that in the event they are unable to avoid it, you will try your best to guide them through it.”

Butler added, “Peer pressure is not always negative or destructive.” Peer pressure can be positive too.

Make the conversation relatable. Remember, when you had to deal with peer pressure tool. And make sure that they know that the lines of communication are open with you if they need to talk about anything. 

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Address any concerns regarding current global health issues

Monkeypox, COVID and other health issues still very much front-and-center in the news, on Instagram feeds, etc. Your children may feel anxious about what is going on in the world of health. It is important to address any concerns that they have.

“To the best of your abilities, explain that while many things can be uncertain, there are some things we can do individually to limit our risk. You should also explain that in areas where we have no control at all, there are coping skills we can put in place to deal with it,” Butler said. “If you are unsure of what those coping skills look like, connect with your school counselors and ask them to help teach your child coping skills that are specific to their current challenges.”

Making sure to address a key conversations with your children is always a good thing. Making sure to address important points before they go back to school is the difference between a rocky school year and one that will start off with an A+!

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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