Back To School


Easy Like Monday Morning ?

The few hours before the school bus arrives don’t have to be the most stressful part of your day — so long as you think ahead. By reorganizing your schedule and changing a few tactics with your family, you can simplify your morning and regain your sanity.

Rise and shine
If your morning is spent making unsuccessful attempts to wake your children, try passing the buck to them. Buy young children an alarm clock (preferably without a snooze feature) and make it their responsibility to wake up on time. Not only will they be excited to own such an adult item, but you’ll be freed up for more important tasks — like remembering where you put the car keys.

If your children constantly fight over who gets to sit in the front seat of the car, use this as an incentive to get them out of bed. The first child to arrive in the kitchen, fully washed, combed and dressed will be the one who gets to ride shotgun.

Start early
Make it a before-bedtime routine for your children to pack backpacks, lay out clothes for the next day and bathe. Parents can make school lunches, set the breakfast table and prepare the coffee machine the night before. Getting a head start will free up your morning and allow you more time to linger over breakfast and talk with your kids.

Turn off the tube
Although parents may be great at multi-tasking their way through the morning rush, children may have a hard time completing even the simplest tasks while distracted by the TV. A child who is involved in a TV program will also be very difficult to tear way and get out the door. If you do allow television time while eating breakfast, make an agreement beforehand about what time he or she will turn the TV off, no arguments.

Conquering Middle School Jitters

Tips on helping your sixth grader:

Before the first day of school, walk your child through campus. Help map out his classes and practice opening his locker.
Encourage your child to participate in a sport or club to help establish his sense of belonging.
Teach your child to tackle tasks one at a time and not to get overwhelmed by the big picture.
Help your child keep an organized binder and filing system. Create a calendar that pinpoints important test and project due dates.

Are Your Over-Scheduling Your Kids ?

Take inventory of how your family spends its time. How many meals do you have together?

How often do you talk to your children, not just to give orders like, “Pick up your clothes or take out the trash”?
Prioritize one or two activities, eliminate those that don’t make the list and stand firm.
Allow your children and yourself some unstructured time. Imaginations need to grow without structured activity.

End the Pre-K Qualms

How to make the first day easier:

Have your child spend a day at her new school or take a practice ride on the bus.
Reward your child with a special present after the first day of school.
Explain the general format for the school day and exactly how your child’s getting home.

Avoid Backpack Hunchback

Would you let your kid strap a bowling ball to her back before heading off to school? How about two bowling balls?

No way, you say. But that’s almost akin to what many kids may be doing, given that the average weight of fully stocked school backpacks ranges from 15 to 35 pounds. Carrying around that much weight — be it books or bowling balls — can put a dangerous strain on your child’s underdeveloped back and shoulder muscles.

If your child has numbness or tingling in her arms and wrists, aching in the neck and shoulders or a persistent headache, check to see if she has an excessively heavy bag.

Amy Maulhardt, an occupational therapist for the Ventura County school district in California, says it’s not only the weight of the backpack that can harm children’s health, but also how they carry the bag that can present problem.

“Kids should always wear their backpack on both shoulders so the weight is equally distributed,” Maulhardt says. “If using a one-strap messenger bag, they should hold it against their chest using both arms.” This eliminates the majority of the weight from hanging off the shoulders, causing unnecessary strain, she says.

She suggests these simple tips to help pack lighter bags and prevent serious injuries:

Conserve Energy
Kids should only carry one book at a time, storing everything else in their locker. If they don’t have enough time to get to their locker, they can ask the school’s permission to store books in each classroom or be allowed extra time between classes.

Help on Wheels
By using a travel dolly or grocery cart, kids can take the weight off their back altogether. Many carts will collapse between uses for storing under their desk or inside a locker. Kids can also enlist the help of their friends. Finding buddies to help lighten their load can make a big difference.

Be Practical
Ask permission to have two sets of books, one for school and one for home. This way, your child isn’t overly burdened if she walks to and from school. Have your child ask herself, “Do I really need a separate binder for every class? Do I really need to carry my Discman, make-up bag and gym shoes with me everyday?”

Encourage your child to condense binders and eliminate as many extras as she can. Do this on a regular basis to ensure her newly lightened backpack stays that way.