The One-Month School Check-In: A Guide to Help Parents Assess the First Few Weeks

3 min to read

...some thoughts from our friends at LearningRx Richmond Hill

For most of the country, school starts in August or September, making this an opportune time for parents to check in on their student’s emotional, academic, and physical well-being. 

We’ve put together a simple guide to help parents better understand what’s working (and what’s not) now that school is underway, as well as some useful tips and resources to make changes when necessary. 

Emotional and Social
The transition back to school after a long summer break is often difficult, but this year poses unique challenges. While some students have changed schools, others haven’t experienced in-person learning since spring 2020. For a large number of students, the past year and a half has included hybrid learning (in-person and virtual/online schooling), with many sports and extracurricular activities having been decreased or canceled due to the pandemic. 

While many students and parents are hopeful at the prospect of returning to school and other regular routines, many still have concerns about the transition. Use these first few weeks to foster an open discussion about things that may be causing anxiety, sadness, or even fear.

Choose a tone that reflects curiosity or use playful banter and ask open-ended questions to gauge your student’s experience and feelings on topics like socializing, friendships, confidence, and comfort. Consider asking these questions in a relaxed setting where you can read facial expressions and body language, such as during the family dinner or while on a walk.

1. Do you have any familiar faces in your classes? Have you made any new friends? 
2. Are there new students at school this year?
3. Who do you sit with at lunch?
4. How is this year different than last year?
5. Are there any rules that you think are unfair?
6. Are there any afterschool activities that you might be interested in? 
7. What’s the hardest part of your day?

Suggested Resource:
Very Well Family offers information on “7 Important Social Skills for Kids,” including how to practice or teach each skill, here:

Academic and Cognitive
Although it’s obviously too early for report cards, there are other ways to determine if your student is in the right classes and on track for learning. Until your scheduled parent-teacher meeting, use some of the following questions to get a feel for the challenges your student may already be experiencing with academics:

1. What’s your favorite class and why?
2. What’s your hardest class and why?
3. What’s your easiest class and why?
4. Who is your favorite teacher and why?
5. In which classroom are you the most (un)comfortable and why? (e.g., English room too hot, math teacher calls on kids to respond out loud, P.E. teacher lets us go outside, etc.)
6. Which teacher gives the most homework?
7. Are there any subjects you dread? Any you love?

Suggested Resource:
If you have any concerns that your child may be struggling in one or more classes, consider scheduling a Brain Skills Assessment at your local LearningRx brain training center or online. This affordable, one-hour assessment measures cognitive skills, such as auditory processing, memory, attention, logic and reasoning, processing speed, and visual processing. The results of the assessment will help you determine which of your student’s brain skills are strong and which could use some strengthening to make learning faster and easier in any subject.

The results of a Brain Skills Assessment can also help LearningRx develop a personalized one-on-one brain training program. These programs use fun but intense mental exercises to target and train specific cognitive skills that are integral to thinking, learning, reading, memory, and attention. In addition, most graduates of LearningRx personal brain training programs say they got a huge boost in confidence! 

To hear what students and parents have to say about their experience with LearningRx one-on-one brain training, visit 

Physical and Habitual
Study habits, quality and quantity of sleep, nutrition, organization, physical health, and time management can all play a role in a student’s success, sometimes it’s difficult to determine where to put your efforts. Start with some basic questions to narrow down your focus:

1. Do you usually feel tired or well rested at school?
2. Are you hungry at any point in the day?
3. Is there specific homework that you avoid until the last minute? 
4. How long does homework normally take?
5. Do you have any time in school to ask teachers questions or get help?
6. Do you have all the school supplies you need to complete your homework?
7. Do you usually arrive to class on time and prepared?

Suggested Resource:
WebMD offers tips on both quantity and quality of sleep for children and teens here:

Performing a check-in using these questions and strategies can help you and your student see areas in need of an adjustment. It may feel awkward at first to ask such specific questions, but you may be surprised by how your student opens up when asked more specific questions. It’s hard to wrap up a whole day of classes and socialization in one answer, but with these questions you can slowly uncover how your student is really doing during the school day. 

About LearningRx®
LearningRx-Richmond Hill is the first LearningRx Centre in Canada! LearningRx is the largest one-on-one brain training company in the world. TTheir training programs are delivered through more than 200 locations in North America and in 48 countries around the globe (as BrainRx®). LearningRx has helped more than 100,000 individuals and families sharpen their cognitive skills to help them think faster, learn easier, and perform better. In addition to their in-Center training programs that partner every client with a personal brain trainer to keep clients engaged, accountable, and on-task—a key advantage over digital brain games—the company also offers online training through real-time videoconferencing. This virtual delivery method allows clients to train from the comfort of their own home while still receiving the benefits of one-on-one brain training with a personal brain trainer. LearningRx's pioneering methods have been used in clinical settings for over 35 years and have been subjected to peer-review in more than a dozen scientific journals. To learn more, visit