Back To School Tips And Preparation

Summer is over and it is back to school time. Preparation tips to make the transition as smooth as possible for both parents and children.

It seems that summertime gets shorter and shorter every year - especially if you're a kid - or the parent of a kid. The transition into a new school year is annually greeted with mixed feelings of anticipation, excitement, fear and regret. Summer is over and it's time to go back to the grind. The whole ritual does not only affect the children, but the entire family as a whole. Sleep schedules have to be put into place and strictly adhered to, eating schedules redefined, homework and curfew rules, television, clothing"¦the list seems endless. As a parent myself I must admit that in my family summer is a time to be lazy - literally bringing meaning to the phrase, "enjoy the lazy days of summer." But, when school time comes around we all have to work, as a family unit to make the transition smooth and as pleasant as possible. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Bedtimes. It seems that parents never get enough sleep while their children feel they get too much. After staying up late, enjoying the long days of summer it is time to create and enforce sleeping schedules. Be warned, for the majority this may not be easy but your efforts will be well worth it. You certainly don't want to send a tired and cranky child off to a busy day at school. Try enforcing new routines two to three weeks prior to the beginning of a new school year. This should give everyone plenty of time to iron out the wrinkles, work through the arguments and adjust to a good night's sleep in preparation for the busy days that lie ahead.

2. Eating schedules. During the summer do you find your family eating later and later? Or, perhaps family members have gotten into the habit of fending for themselves in order to adhere to their own active summer time social schedules? Now is the time to put an end to this. A family style, sit down dinner is in order and is a wonderful way for family members to be together and communicate events of the day. Also, keep in mind that lunch is rarely served at noontime in school. It may be a good idea to schedule your meals at home earlier in the day as well.

3. Homework and curfew rules. Before school starts plan a homework and curfew schedule. Sit down and discuss the rules with your children. Be sure that they know these rules are not to be broken. Is the television allowed on? When is homework to be done? How late is the telephone allowed? What is the school night curfew?

4. Clothing. Of course, the start of a new school year also means new clothes. Before going school shopping with your children discuss what types of clothing will and will not be allowed. Also, try getting into the habit of having outfits prepared the night before to eliminate some of the last minute, frantic rushing around. Have older kids take responsibility for laundering, ironing and caring for their clothing. If you have younger kids, keep in mind that they will be wearing these clothes all day. Going to the bathroom may be a problem for very young kids if they are forced to contend with zippers and difficult buttons and snaps. Try to choose close that require little effort and encourage them to ask their teacher for help to avoid any accidents.

As a family, work together. Remember, back to school does not just effect the lives of your children but the entire family unit as well. Create and discuss new rules and schedules. Listen to and consider feedback from other family members, they might just have something to contribute that you hadn't thought of. Once a rule or schedule is accepted and decided upon enforce it. Stand your ground and be clear that there is to be no argument about it. It is possible to start a new school year smoothly and enjoy it.

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