Grandparents are more involved with raising their grandchildren than ever before. Children may be enjoying their last few days of summer, but August is just around the corner. The preparation for school has started and grandparents may be asked to assist. Whether you are assisting full-time or just filling in you may want to consider what your new role may involve. Discuss how you can assist with this exciting time for your grandchildren.

Back to School Tips for Grandparents

To make this process as smooth as possible consider the following steps.

Scale back the bedtime hour now.

Several weeks before school begins start gradually scaling back bedtime so that by the time school starts the child is going to bed and getting up at the same time s/he will for school. It takes several weeks for the body clock to adjust itself so it’s important to start now.

Shop for school supplies with your grandchild

Your grandchild will gain a sense of ownership by picking his/her own supplies.

Provide daily learning time

Set aside at least 15-30 min. per day for “education time” before school starts so homework time won’t come as such a shock.

Meet the teacher

Attend the meet-the-teacher event at school. Take a picture of the teacher with your child and put it on the fridge. Ask the teacher for an outline of the school day so you can prepare your child. Make sure your child knows where the bathrooms are, can open the locker, etc.

Arrange a play date with a classmate before school starts

It will help your child to have at least one friend they know in their classroom.

Develop an end-of-summer ritual

Rituals build predictability and help kids feel secure. Consider creating a scrapbook of the summer’s events or going to an amusement park for one last hurrah.

Create a morning map

Determine the amount of time needed to do each morning task before school and then add 10 min. of extra time. Add up the total time needed. Then, create a cartoon strip with pictures of each task, and the time to start and end the task, to help kids leave on time.

Develop a menu with nutritious breakfast selections

Experiment with breakfast foods that are easy, nutritious, and well-liked by your child. Create a menu that the child can check off the night before each school day.

Create a “command center” for all paperwork

Buy a hanging file box and create a hanging folder for each activity for each child and their school, as well as your own activities. Store all paperwork in this central location so everyone in the family can access the schedules and information if needed.

Determine where “homework central” will be for each child

Have your child help pick where they’ll do homework each day. Also buy supplies (i.e., erasers, calculator, paper, pencils, ruler, etc.) that will be put

This can be a stressful time for grandchildren. An increase in anxiety might occur and grandchildren could act out.

The best response is for grandparents to provide empathy and support, help the child gain a sense of control, provide rituals for predictability, get organized, teach the child how to de-stress, and make sure the child is getting enough sleep and eating foods packed with nutrition.

How can you be involved in your grandchildren’s education?

Here are additional tips that can be helpful to the family. Some can be practiced by grandparents that may not live in the same community.

  • Getting involved with the school curriculum and being available to help with homework, either virtually or in person.
  • Get a copy of the yearly event / academic calendar.
  • Make sure your name is on the “pick up list” if you are needed to assist with this.
  • Get your name on the Volunteer Roster.
  • Go to lunch with your grandchild.
  • Providing additional learning tools and opportunities, including games, puzzles, educational toys, arts, and crafts.
  • Taking the kids for educational field trips, as schools will not be offering them.
  • Helping with drop off and pick up, in a safe and responsible way (particularly important within household bubbles vs carpooling).
  • Reading or listening to books with grandkids, either in person or online.
  • Encouraging their writing skills through emails, writing letters, diaries, or blog posts.
  • Attend School open house and meet the teachers.
  • Preparing family meals, maybe including the kids in cooking.

Things to keep a record of

  • The teacher’s names for each of your grandchildren.
  • What time the school day begins officially
  • What time the school day ends
  • When the student is considered tardy in the morning
  • Lunchtime and duration and lunchroom location in the building
  • Which days are PE (sadly, PE does not occur every day) If your grandchild is spending the night with you on a school night and the next day is PE, they may require special clothing or shoes.
  • The bus number and driver’s name if your student rides the bus
  • Who is on the emergency contact list?

Be sure to keep the lines of communication open with your grandchildren’s parents to insure they are aware of your involvement. You are here to support them, and, in some cases, they may have mixed emotions about not being available to be there. They need to understand you are there to help.


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