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Parenting 101: Handling Common School Year Disasters
posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - August 13th, 2019
Leaving behind the freedom of a school-free summer and getting your kid back into their autumn routine isn’t always easy. One survey of working parents showed that nearly half of them reported back-to-school stress being so bad it interfered with their work. Here’s a parenting 101 guide for the following scenarios and guidelines to make the transition easier for the entire family.
Your child doesn’t want to abide by their bedtime
A good night’s sleep is important to your kid’s success in school. It gives their brain the rest it needs to concentrate during the day, and keeps them from getting tired and cranky. Your family may have foregone healthy sleep habits during summer vacation. Getting little ones back into this routine come fall can be tough and you may face pushback when trying to institute earlier sleeping hours.
Avoid tantrums by gradually moving up your son’s or daughter’s bedtime in the weeks before school starts—by as little as five- to ten-minute increments. This allows them to slowly adapt mentally and physically to the change. Ways you can move up bedtime effectively include avoiding caffeinated beverages in the afternoon and shutting off screens an hour or two before bed.
Getting ready in the morning results in temper tantrums
A busy family home tends to be hectic in the mornings. Parents need to get ready for work themselves while also ensuring kids are fed, dressed, and have all the supplies they need for school and extracurricular activities. Mitigate the mayhem by preparing the night before; help your child pack their bag and set out the clothes they will wear.
If they struggle when deciding what to wear, you can ease the process by taking photos of your little one’s most beloved outfits and storing their favorite articles of clothing at the top of their dresser or closet. It’s also recommended to narrow down children’s choices to just three outfits—and then simply let them choose from those few options.
The manner in which you wake up your child can also impact how they start the day. Kids are sleepy right after waking and may be cranky. To avoid morning moods, We Have Kids suggests letting little ones wake up naturally: “Ten minutes before you actually want your child out of the bed just casually turn the light on and leave the door open.” This allows for a more organic and easier transition from sleep to wakefulness.
Homework is proving to be an insurmountable feat
When kids finish school for the day, homework isn’t at the top of their to-do list. Make the process more appealing by creating a welcoming work environment. Start with their desk, considering aspects like size to ensure a comfortable fit. SheKnows has great tips on how to enhance their workspace, like hanging a painted pegboard behind it to display important papers and ensuring the desk is well-lit.
You’ll also need to stock your son’s or daughter’s homework space with the appropriate school supplies. Look for bright and colorful items that will make their desk pretty and capture their attention. Consult Wirecutter’s list of top school supplies for inspiration. It includes everything you could possibly think of from backpacks to vibrant felt-tip pens, erasers, notebooks, staplers, binders, and more.
Frequent illness is keeping your kid out of school
When your child is sick and has to stay home from school, they are missing out on their education. So-called chronic absenteeism has been shown to impact a kid’s overall success as they fall behind in lessons and homework. You can help them stay healthy with a daily multivitamin, which provides nutrients they don’t get enough of otherwise. This encourages a healthy immune system so they can better fight colds.
Follow the above tips as you help your child ease their way into the fall, and you should be able to avoid some of the most common school-year disasters parents face. You want your son or daughter to enjoy their education, not try to avoid it. With some effort on your part, you can ensure they look forward to learning every day.