Summer is almost over, and the school year will soon begin! The Peetes talk with parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba about things you can do to be more organized and efficient and make going back to school a breeze for you and your children.
Dr. Borba, who was once a teacher, says many parents often tell her that when school starts, evenings get hectic and mornings become stressful. Dr. Borba talks about eight common back-to-school hassles and offers her simple solutions.
1. Morning franticness: Create sanity savers for your biggest morning nightmares by doing some organizing the night before. Have kids put backpacks with lunch money and homework at the front door before bed, Dr. Borba says. In addition, lay out school clothes and set up the breakfast table the night before.
2. You're your child's personal organizer: Hang a large monthly calendar and buy a white board so each child can mark his own weekly activites, Dr. Borba says. List your schedule too.
3. Late morning starts: Buy alarm clocks and teach kids how to set them, Dr. Borba says. And start getting your kid back onto the right sleeping schedule at least two weeks before school starts, she says.
4. Missing and lost schools supplies: Identify the problem and then brainstorm a simple solution, Dr. Borba says. It could be as easy as putting a box by the door for library books, a large hook for coats, a bin for sports gear or an extra set of car keys for you, she says.
5. Frantic or missed breakfasts: Find quicker, healthier snacks. Instant oatmeal in a cup, bananas and juice boxes are easy to grab and go, Dr. Borba says.
6. Lost teacher notes, notices and schedules: Set a new family policy: "Walk in, open your backpack, and put any notes or graded papers in a basket," she says. Then, check it nightly. Tend to those needing your signature and put them inside your child's backpack for next-day delivery.
7. Homework wars: Set a homework routine and announce rules such as banning the phone or IMs until all homework is done, Dr. Borba says. Post the rules on the fridge and stick to them. And create a special homework spot that is quiet and has good lighting and keep necessary supplies nearby, she says.
8. Parental rescuing: Set a new house rule: No more excuses. "Your kids need to take ownership and stop relying on you as their savior," Dr. Borba says. "Your new family mantra is: 'Never do for your kid what your kid can do for himself.'"
Published on August 14, 2008