H eading back to school can be a busy and stressful time of year for you and your child. Establishing routines is an important step in maintaining discipline and order in your household. By the time school starts up again in the fall our children have drifted away from their usual routines. Parents must remember that children need rules and guidance as well as love and attention. Leading by example and adhering to rules is the best positive reinforcement you can give a child.
Children thrive when there are rules and boundaries and by setting up rules we begin a desired pattern of behavior that will affect them for the rest of their lives. If you get your children involved in the planning process as well as the chores your child will look forward to their participation and every school day will be less stressful for you all. In my experience, I've found the following tips to be the most useful in our family during the school year:
* Set a bed time schedule and stick to it. For example, bath at 7PM, reading at 7:30PM, lights out at 8PM. This not only gives parents some time to wind down but you will have a child who is less crabby and more attentive at school. The best perk is your child will expect it once it becomes routine and fall asleep almost on cue.
* Establish a "School Center" where all school work or activity boards are posted. Set-up boxes or crates for each child to place their backpack or books into to keep organized. Let your children choose the location or colors and styles of boxes.
* Make and review lists of things to do or items to follow up on. Use a planner or calendar. List chores so your children know exactly what they need to accomplish each day. Let you children help plan their chores.
* Check the weather each evening and be aware of your child's activities to help plan clothing or supply needs.
* Lay out a complete set of clothes for all your children, including socks and undergarments. Let your kids help pick out their clothes. Set shoes and coats out for the next morning too.
* Pre-plan a quick, healthy breakfast and lunches to save valuable time. You or your children can set up the breakfast table, including dishes, glasses, silverware and non-perishables. Make juice the night before. Pack lunches the night before and freeze juice boxes if necessary to help keep lunches cold. Including an occassional fun note or sticker in each lunch box is a nice surprise for your child.
* Have a specific "Homework Time" and be available for your child to ask questions if they need help. Ask about homework daily and review it before bedtime to ensure it's done. Be sure your child places all assignments, books and backpacks in their designated boxes before bedtime so in the morning they can "grab & go".Reinforce this behavior with an end of the week ice cream treat or something similar.
* Run errands after work or as soon as possible to keep your "to do" list under control. Plan your errands so you spend as little time as possible driving. Plan or map out your route if needed.
* Keep keys in a designated spot and keep gas in your car. Fill up the gas tank the night before to avoid unnecessary stops in the morning. You or the kids don't want to be late for school.
* Most of all, enjoy your children and remember to keep smiling.
About The Author
Yvonne Thompson owns and operates Assistance For You, a Virtual Assistant Support Service and the popular Letters From Santa web site, which creates holiday joy by mailing personalized Santa Letters to children. For more information visit the web site at sendasantaletter.com or send an email to
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