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Divas: 9 back to school tips every parent should know

Back to school already? Noooooo! Say it ain’t so!

Summer break is nearly over so it’s time to prepare for the upcoming school year. Think about the jarring shift from chilled out, barefoot summer kid to suddenly rising with the sun and focusing their attention all day long. That shift can be stressful but I have some helpful tips to ease the transition.

1. Get their brains back into learning mode before school starts. Visit a museum. Watch documentaries and science programs on television. Go to the library and pick out a book to read just for fun. Bust out the times tables or flash cards and review some math.

2. Begin two weeks before school starts to reset your family’s internal clocks. Determine age-appropriate bed and waking times and gradually adjust toward them. Bedtime can be a bummer so set an alarm for 30 minutes before bedtime to wind up activities and prepare for bed.

3. Resetting your morning clock is easier with incentive. Make a special breakfast or let kids enjoy a favorite activity but only if they get up before a certain time. Like “video games only before nine in the morning.” It doesn’t matter why they get up as long as they’re getting up earlier, right?

4. Create bedtime and morning routines for your kids and yourself to keep everyone on track. Teach kids to lay out tomorrow’s clothing and pack their school bags before bed each night.

5. Shop early for school supplies. Whether it’s kindergarten or college, there’s a supply list to pick up as soon as possible. Before you shop, inventory last year’s supplies so you’re not buying unnecessary items. If financial issues prevent you from purchasing basics, the school can usually hook you up with donated supplies.

6. Start organizing. Create a family calendar and each week enter all activities for the upcoming week. Keep track of extracurricular activities to prevent over-scheduling. Have a family “in box” for all papers that need parent’s attention like permission slips and school calendars.

7. Refresh the rules for the new year regarding screen time, family time, study time and social time.

8. Make a homework station or portable homework caddy stocked with supplies to avoid the distraction of searching for materials. Set up in a quiet spot free from distractions like TV and video games. Teach time-management skills by helping them to prioritize assignments.

9. Assemble a back-to-school survival kit for older kids to keep in their lockers or book bags. Use a small cosmetic bag with personal items they may need. Ideas to include are extra pens and pencils, tissues, deodorant, feminine hygiene supplies, breath mints, baby wipes, a small hairbrush, hair ties, fragranced body spray, lip balm, a few dollars for emergencies. If allowed, add aspirin, Pepto-Bismol, and allergy medications.

Most people start every school year saying “this year will be different” because we all recall moments of chaos. The key to managing back to school like a boss is preparation and organization because if you’re relaxed and calm they will be too.

Family Fun contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! NEW website and blog – www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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