Tips for attending a back-to-school open house

Many schools offer an open house a few weeks before the new year starts. This is a great opportunity for your kids to meet their teachers, try out locker codes and get a feel for the layout of the school. There can be a lot going on, so follow these tips for making the most out of your back-to-school open house:

Take a tour
One of the scariest parts of starting school for many students is learning how to navigate the location. If your kids are headed to a new building in the fall, make sure they take advantage of open house tours. This way they can follow their schedule ahead of time, walking from one classroom to the next and beginning to remember their route. Grab a map handout and make note of the classes your kids will attend. This way they can study it in the short time between the open house and the beginning of school.

Meet the teachers
Another nerve wracking part of a new school year is the teachers. Some kids are stoked to say hi and talk about their summer vacation with their soon-to-be teachers, while others are terrified and shy. Parents can ease this initial anxiety by ensuring their kids meet their teachers during an open house. Knowing who the teachers are can also make it easier for students who are transitioning to a new grade or new school as they'll already know a couple of friendly faces. You don't need to give the educators a rundown of all your kids' needs, like any medical issues or potential for homework slacking. Save that for a later date. Open houses are just about meeting everyone and getting more comfortable in a new environment.

Sign up for activities
Open house isn't just a chance to check out the school. Head to the gym or cafeteria area to help your kids sign up for clubs, groups and teams. Here you can meet the coaches and group leaders, see which other kids are getting involved and see how you can help out. If you're super involved in your kids' after-school lives you might be running a table at the open house to help with sign up for your particular activity. Make sure you learn about practice times, games and any equipment your kids will need to participate so they're ready come the first get together.

Talk tech
With each passing year, many students and schools have access to more technology. From using tablets in class to checking out and bringing home laptops or even virtual reality sets, parents and students should be familiar with the technology they have access to. Visit the computer lab or library during the open house to see what your kids will be using. Here you can also ask about any at-home tech your kids could benefit from using for their homework, such as specific programs or versions of software. 

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