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About Practical Parenting Strategies with Dr. Heller

Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist and founding partner with The Heller Psychology Group LLC, which is a small private practice located in Bethesda, Maryland near Montgomery Mall. He specializes in working with children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Heller conducts play, individual, and family psychotherapy for a variety... Read more

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Back-to-School 2015 Tips

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost already mid August and that the new school year is fast approaching. Having a game plan in place for time management, organizational, and study skills is important before the school year begins. In addition, being proactive to prevent issues that occurred last school from reoccurring is important. Here are some general strategies to help your child or teen prepare effectively for the new school year:

Time Management:

  • If they don’t already, have them use a calendar to keep track of days off from school, afterschool activities, doctor’s appointments, and other obligations.
  • Help your child or teen to block out time daily as to when he or she will complete homework.
  • Examine their anticipated fall schedule with them and make sure there is adequate time free for homework. If needed, consider reducing the number of activities or see if a simple change of time, if possible, would make a difference. For instance, if your child or teen has guitar lessons and soccer practice on the same day, see if the guitar lessons can be moved to another day. Alternatively, see if breaks between activities can effectively be used to complete homework at home, or at a library or other location near the activity.


  • Make sure your child or teen’s backpack is in good shape and help them to organize it. If they will be carrying their backpack around all day, setting up a system of organization similar to a filing cabinet (where each binder, book, etc.) has a specific place it should go, would be helpful.
  • If loose papers are a frequent issue, have your child or teen keep a file folder in the front of their backpack and instead of putting papers in loose, encourage them to throw them into this folder (and set a time each day or every few days to file papers in the proper place).
  • Help your child or teen setup binders and sections of binders for each subject. Maintaining an organized binder is often more difficult than setting it up initially, so setting up a weekly check in to help them monitor their organization would be useful.
  • Make sure your child or teen has a space to complete homework with minimal distractions. Ideally, doing homework in a place that they otherwise do not use may improve focus because they’ll know that if they are in that space, it means that they should be completing schoolwork.

Study Skills:

  • If your child or teen does not know how to study effectively, consider having them meet with a tutor or coach to learn some practical study skills based on their individual learning style to better facilitate studying during the school year.
  • Encourage your child or teen to explore different study apps, and perhaps have them practice learning information for fun (i.e., sports stats).

Preventing Issues from Last Year from Reoccurring:

  • Sit down with your child or teen and discuss issues that occurred last year, and make sure plans are put in place to prevent the same issues from reoccurring.
  • If academic issues occurred, consider setting up tutoring to begin at the start of the school year.
  • If your child or teen had social difficulties, decide if the circumstances have changed since last year (i.e., new school), how serious they were, and determine if getting professional assistance from a therapist might be helpful for them in learning how to effectively manage social situations, handle bullying, etc.

I hope these tips are helpful in making the next school year a great one!

Copyright 2015 Carey A. Heller Psy.D./The Heller Psychology Group LLC

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*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship, and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship*

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Carey Heller, Psy.D.

About Carey Heller, Psy.D.

Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. He works with children, adolescents, and young adults, providing psychological/psychoeducational evaluations and individual psychotherapy. Dr. Heller specializes in ADHD, executive functioning issues, and Autism Spectrum Disorder and is happy to answer questions and provide consultations for individuals who are considering pursuing treatment or an evaluation for their child, adolescent, or themselves. Dr. Heller can be reached directly at 301.385.2610 or For appointments, please call the office at (301) 385-2610 or email The Heller Psychology Group at with your contact information and availability for appointment times.


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