Most parents experience at least a small degree of relief when it's time for elementary school -- there's no limit to the tasks that must be accomplished in a day, and all those at-school hours mean more time for mommy and daddy's to-do lists.
But remember, being involved in your child's school life is as important as being involved in his or her home life. One of the best ways to help your child succeed in first grade -- and any grade -- is to communicate with the teacher, staying aware of what's going on in class and how your child is progressing. Knowledge of what your first-grade student is doing will not only give you clues about new supplemental activities you can introduce on at home, but will also let you know quickly if there are delays in mastering a specific skill. At such an early age, and especially when it comes to learning to read, a major delay can prove devastating to academic progress.
So talk to the teacher, look through your child's backpack every day after school, and know which lessons your child is focusing on at what time. Being involved and aware will lead you easily to all of the other ways you can help your child thrive this year -- and next year, and the year after that.
For more information on first grade, child development and related topics, check out the links on the next page.