Being a grandparent means lots of things in so many ways. While we take on a great many roles, one we cherish is the ability to help out, to be there, and be present. So when it’s back to school time…what exactly can we do for our precious ones and the family?  What exactly is our role?

Here are some suggestions:

1. How about giving your grandchildren a couple of age-appropriate books, something that signifies their new school year which is always such an exciting time, regardless of the age?

For ages 3 and up

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

Biscuit Goes to School by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Splat the Cat, Back to School Splat! by Rob Scotton

I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child

For ages 5-8

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

Kindergarten, Here I Come by Nancy Carlson

First Grade, Here I Come by Nancy Carlson

Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin, created & illustrated by James Dean

The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing, Illustrated by Deborah Zemke

Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind by Judy Finchler and Kevin O’Malley

For ages 8 and up

How Not to Start Third Grade by Cathy Hapka

Back to School, Weird Kids Rule by Dan Gutman

Miss Klute is a Hoot by Dan Gutman

The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

Daily Word Ladders by Timothy Rasinski

2. Remember you are the grandparent, and they are the parent. Back to school is an exhilarating time for the whole family. Be sure to give your own children, or daughter or son in law, the respect they need and deserve as they participate in their children’s adventures and activities.

3.  And for sure, ask Mommy or Daddy about the new school schedule, and what assistance you can give them. Whether it’s the child’s first time at nursery school or a well-seasoned fourth grader, Moms and Dads run ragged and can totally use the extra hands. What about picking up after school, or driving your little athlete to team practice?

4. Are there school supplies you can purchase, or a new lunch box? Every child loves the feeling of fresh, new school supplies. Or, what about a new pair of shoes or a new school outfit? If your grandchild is saving up for something special, maybe you can contribute, and help speed up the process.

5. First get the all-clear sign from the family. Then, see if your grandchildren’s school needs volunteers. If so, would it be okay with Mom and Dad and the grandkids? Most schools are thrilled to welcome grandparents’ assistance.

6. Whether you live nearby or far away, talk to your grandchildren about school. Encourage reading for fun. Praise them for their efforts, their study skills, not just their grades. Talk to them about their particular interests.