55 Best Back-to-School Articles for Parents - 2019

Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD

Parents, are you ready for back-to-school? Teachers, would you like to share some great parenting articles with students’ families? 

This popular list of back-to-school articles was just updated for the 2019-2020 school year. It contains some of the latest thinking and research on learning, achievement, family well-being, parent engagement, special needs children, youth sports, media, technology, discipline, homework, bullying — many of the topics parents think about at back-to-school time. These articles also support the development of core abilities every child needs: curiosity, sociability, resilience, self-awareness, integrity, resourcefulness, creativity, and empathy — abilities that make up The Compass Advantage framework for positive youth development.

To learn more about the compass abilities, check out our series for parents: Successful Kids Need 8 Core Abilities: How to Parent with Purpose.  Also download our free popular Parenting Promise at Roots of Action [in English and Spanish] and a handout on the Compass Advantage framework, showing how parents and schools impact these eight core abilities in youth.

Please read the articles below that pique your interest now and bookmark others for later. The newer articles are always at the beginning of each section. Many remain on this list because they are true gems. If you like the authors, be sure to follow them on social media. We’ve included links to Twitter and Facebook accounts to make following your favorites easier.

I guarantee you’ll find some meaningful food for thought here – whether it’s back-to-school time or anytime! You’ll also meet some great people who support children’s positive development and well-being. Happy reading!

Back-to-School Basics: Learning & Achievement

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1. 14 Tips for a Successful School Year by Joanne Foster, EdD at at The Creativity Post. Fourteen tips to consider about creativity, productivity, and well-being to inspire parents and kids.

2. Curiosity: The Meta-Skill to Thrive in the 21st Century, by Gustavo Razzetti at Psychology Today. Your child’s ability to learn is key to today’s success. How do you develop a learning mindset

3. Why We Still Need to Study the Humanities in a STEM World by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post. How humanities make us examine the entirety of the human condition and the complex moral issues of our time. 

4. Learning to Be Human by Sophie Gilbert in The Atlantic. Why the humanities are in decline and why they’re more vital than ever.

5. Educating an Original Thinker by Jessica Lahey in The Atlantic. How teachers and parents can identify and cultivate children who think creatively and unconventionally.

6. Teaching Beyond the Transmission of Knowledge by Miguel Angel Escotet, Ph.D., A call to action for teachers: Why teaching to the test inflicts a cost on students.

7. Parents & Teachers: 6 Ways to Inspire the Teen Brain by Sandra Bond Chapman Ph.D., at Psychology Today. Get tips to stimulate the teen brain from findings in neuroscience.

8. The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt in The Atlantic. Will your children become good critical thinkers? A look at the trend to protect children from feeling uncomfortable.

9. The Success Myth by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., at Psychology Today. Rethink your ideas of what makes us successful, then apply them to your parenting.

Family Well-Being

10. For Sibling Battles, Be a Sportscaster, Not a Referee, by Heather Turgeon, at The New York Times. How to know when to intervene in sibling squabbles.

11. Are You Raising Your Son with Old-School Thinking? by Susan Newman Ph.D., at Psychology Today.The days of machismo parenting are over. Learn nine keys to raising boys today.

12. Quotes for Kids That Promote Healthy Development by Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., at Roots of Action. Learn how quotes can inspire your kids!

13. When You Don’t Like Your Child’s Friend, by Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., at Psychology Today. Why forbidding a child’s friendship with a peer probably won’t work. What to do instead.

14. Mr. Rogers Had a Simple Set of Rules for Talking to Children by Maxwell King at The Atlantic. Nine great tips for talking with preschoolers.

15. The Key to Success in Within Your Child’s Developing Mind by Michele Borba, Ed.D., at Roots of Action. What is the “special sauce” for raising kids

16. Empowering Kids to Make Decisions by Joanne Foster, Ed.D., at The Creativity Post. Ten suggestions that can lead to positive outcomes for your child. 

17. Family Meetings Can Be Fun, Productive, and Meaningful, by Marilyn Price-Mitchell PhD., at Roots of Action. Eight benefits of family meetings and everything you ever wanted to know about running them. 

18. A Stress-Management Toolkit for Teens by Melanie Greenberg Ph.D., at Psychology Today. Stress among teens is on the rise. Learn how parents can help. 

19. Beginning Family Meetings by Jody McVittie, M.D., at SoundDiscipline. Back-to-school time is perfect for planning regular family meetings.

20. The Benefits of Play are “Oh, so Big!” by Katie Hurley at Roots of Action. Why parents should make time for lots of unstructured play time at home. 

21. Sibling Rivalry: Helping Children Learn to Work Through Conflicts by Laura Markham, Ph.D., at Roots of Action. Should parents intervene when siblings fight with one another? What’s the best way to help kids learn to work things out for themselves?

Parent-Readiness and Engagement

22. How Parent Involvement Leads to Student Success, published at Waterford.org. What is parent engagement and why is it important?

23. Twenty Ways You Can Help Your Children Succeed at School by Colorin Colorado. An excellent list in English and Spanish for successful parent engagement.

23. 7 Ways to Cope with Anxiety about Your Teen by Susan Newman, Ph.D., at Psychology Today. How parents of teenagers can manage their fears.

24. The Unique Power of Afterschool Learning by Leah Levy at Edudemic. Learn how afterschool programs impacts child development and what to look for in programs that “get it right.” 

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26. Social Anxiety in Children: The 3 C’s to Growth by Rick Ackerly, M.Ed., at Roots of Action. Why social anxiety is part of the human condition and how to help your kids.

27. Body Image and Girls: 8 Ways to Help Our Daughters Thrive in a Thin-is-in World by Robyn Silverman, Ph.D., at DrRobynSilverman.com. Helping girls thrive means breaking some well-established habits. 

28. How to Help Kids with Social Anxiety by Katie Hurley, LCSW, at Psycom. Effective coping strategies parents can teach their child.

29. Answers to FAQ’s About Anxiety in Children and Adolescents by Signe Whitson, L.S.W., at Psychology Today. How to recognize the symptoms and teach kids skills for calming their brains.

Children with Special Needs, Abilities & Personalities

30. Underachievers, Part 2: One More Key Reason Kids Who Could Do Well In School Don’t by Valerie Strauss in The Washington Post. Do you have a gifted child with learning disabilities? Learn why bright students often struggle in school.

31. When Trauma Underlies Challenging Behaviors: New Answers for Vulnerable Children by Mona Delahooke, Ph.D., at MonaDelahooke.com. Sometimes aggressive behaviors are signs of early trauma. Learn why it is important to understand the roots of challenging behaviors.

32. Stress Relief for Families with ADHD: The Value of Mindfulness by Mark Bertin, M.D., at Roots of Action. Parenting a child with ADHD is demanding. Learn how to relieve stress.

33. Changing Schools: Is It the Right Choice for My ADHD Child? by Susan Yellin at ADDitude. Why changing schools isn’t easy but may be the right choice for your child’s happiness and success.

34. Escaping the Disability Trap by Alia Wong at The Atlantic. A compelling read on how to prepare special needs students for the workforce.

Homework: A Back-to-School Reality

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35. Does Homework Serve a Purpose? by Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, PhD, LPCS at Psychology Today. Should homework be decreased? There are several schools of thought. Learn what the research says.

36. Reduce Homework Stress by Lori Lite at Stress Free Kids. Back-to-school and homework go together. Here are 10 tips to help parents, teens, and children with the daily homework routine.

37. Who Takes Responsibility for Homework? What is the Parent’s Role? By Rick Ackerly at The Genius in Children. Helping kids understand the consequences and rewards of homework. 

Youth Sports

38. Team Sports May Help Children Deal With Trauma, by Perri Klass, M.D. in The New York Times. Why training, working hard, and learning to win and lose help children develop resilience.

39. What’s Right About Youth Sports in America by Jim Taylor, Ph.D. at Psychology Today. While many criticize the evolution of sports and a focus on winning at all costs, this article takes a peak at the upside of sports for kids.

40.  The Downsides of America’s Hyper-Competitive Youth-Soccer Industry by Linda Flanagan at The Atlantic. How youth soccer is organized around the goal of producing a tiny group of elite players, at the expense of kids’ and parents’ well-being.

41. How to be a Positive and Winning Youth Sports Coach by Jennifer Fraser, Ph.D., at Roots of Action. 8 ways a sports coach can positively influence athletes.

42. Emphasize the Internal Rewards by Jeffrey Rhoads at Inside Youth Sports. How to help your child experience the internal rewards of playing sports.


43. Why Shaming Teens or Kids Shouldn’t Be Part of Parenting, by Sue Scheff at Psychology Today. New evidence suggests that adolescent bullying may have origins in the home. Parents who are hostile and punitive may be at risk of raising teens who bully others.

44. Mean Girls: Why Teenage Girls Can Be So Cruel by Chris Hudson at Understanding Teenagers. Learn how gender influences adolescent behavior in friendship groups and why girls have a natural tendency toward social aggression.

45. How to Protect Kids from Cyber-Bullying by Michele Borba, Ed.D., How to keep an electronic leash on your child!

Media & Technology

46. Singing the Digital Blues by Dr. Judith Schlesinger at The Creativity Post. The author suggests that the polar opposite of creativity is digital passivity. How does this affect you and your children?

47. A Secret to Digital–and Non-Digital–Parenting by Kentaro Toyama, Ph.D. at Psychology Today. A simple analogy helps understand digital technology in child rearing.

48. Managing Screen Time Increases Family Joy by Rachel Macy Stafford at Roots of Action. Modeling the healthy use of technology can increase the well-being of your entire family. This article describes six small changes that have big impacts!

49. Screen Time: The Impact on Kids and Parenting by Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D., at Psychology Today. New research explains the negative effects of excessive screen time. What is the impact on parenting? 

50. Parenting: Who is More Powerful: Technology or Parents? By Jim Jaylor, Ph.D., at Psychology Today. How are you flexing your parenting muscles against the strength of today’s media? 

51. Teen Sexting: What messages should we be sending our teens about sexting? by Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, M.S., L.P.C., at Psychology Today. Learn about sexting and how to protect your teen.


52.Four Boundaries Children Need to Understand by Sara Au at Psychology Today. Discipline involves many areas of parenting, including personal boundaries, interactions with others, and sexual consent. Learn how to have these conversations with your children.

53. The Spanking Debate is Over by Noam Shpancer, Ph.D. at Psychology Today. The scientific debate on spanking children has been resolved. Learn what the research says.

54. Powerful Questions for Setting Limits on Your Child’s Behavior by Ariadne Brill at Positive Parenting Connection. Why setting limits helps your child know you care.

55. 10 Steps to Guide Children Without Punishment by Laura Markham, Ph.D., at Aha Parenting. Research shows that punishing kids creates more misbehavior. What can you do to guide your children without punishment?