Back to school checklist

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Many students are preparing to head back to school, and some will be in class in just one week. As parents, there are things you can do right now to help your child succeed this school year.

One week out is actually the perfect time to get your child in "back to school" mode, and you can start with setting a schedule.

That school bus will be pulling up before you know it, and for some that early wake up call will be a shock to the system unless you help them get in a routine starting now.

Experts suggest setting back the alarm clock in increments of ten to fifteen minutes each day so that your child gradually adjusts to their school wake-up time.

Children between five and 12 years old need ten or eleven hours of sleep a night.  Up to age 18, teens and tweens do best on 8.5 to 9.5 hours per night.

You can also get them ready for homework.   

"Get them on a routine, a habit," recommends teacher Matt Spence. "Maybe give them a block of time. From four-to-five, we're going to read. Find a book, maybe finish a book. By the time they get back in a week or two, they can actually do that and that will have them have a habit in mind - 'this is time to do homework' - each day."

The U.S. Department of Education recommends providing a consistent place to study, free of distractions, at a regular time.  And don't expect or demand perfection.

This is also a good time to have that open line of communication with your child's teacher.

"As you start the year, you want to be able to tell your teachers how your child learns, what excites them, what motivates them," Spence said. "What topics are interesting to them and also what you can do to work with them if something is troubling or challenging - what types of things do you do with them at home?"

Experts say don't feel intimidated if you're not an expert at certain subjects when your child needs homework help. Just be supportive and find ways around the house or in everyday life they can apply to what they are learning.