Back to School Already?

By Erin Kurt

Even though children may be enjoying their summer, parents are already thinking about “back-to-school” and everything that needs to get organized. What’s the stress-free solution to setting your child up for a truly successful year? Routines and organization. Every household benefits from having established routines but it’s even more important when kids are back at school.

What are some of the problems that can occur without routine and organization?  Here’s just a few:

1)      Children not completing homework

2)      Children losing work

3)      Missing important dates such as field trip payment deadlines, parent/teacher interviews

4)      Stress from always having to react to problems that arise

5)      Poor sleep and nutrition, therefore moodiness and lower achievement in school

The good news is that it only takes about 1 week to establish some solid routines and get things organized so that none of the above issues even arise.

A week before school begins, sit down with your kids and go through the way things are going to work this year. Always ask for their input in terms of solutions.

The first item you talk about should be the homework routine. Decide on a homework zone that will be free from distractions and a specific time that they will always begin. You can ask them to help you organize the area so that they feel they are taking responsibility for their success. What materials do they think they might need at their homework station? Keep in mind that while older children may benefit from doing homework in their bedrooms or in the home office, younger children who need parental support could do their homework in the kitchen or dining room while their parents are preparing dinner.

The next item you’ll want to discuss is the evening routine. I suggest making it a rule that all TVs and computers are to be turned off an hour before bedtime so that you can all get organized for the next morning. Make lunches and gather school supplies together. You can even set the table for breakfast the next morning.

Finally, discuss in which activities your children would like to be involved and ask them to choose one or two at most. Schedule everyone’s activities on a large wall calendar assigning each person a different colour. Internet savvy families may benefit from using a program such as Google Calendar to make this easier to keep track of schedules.

Practice your routines for a week, tweaking anything that may be a problem and then voila! You and your kids will be ready and prepared for a successful school year.

Erin Kurt, B.Ed, spent 16 years as a teacher and nanny around the world. Now, she applies her expertise as a parenting expert and author of Juggling Family Life: A Step-By-Step Guide to Stress-Free Parenting. Click here to learn more about Erin and her simple, loving parenting method, and subscribe to her weekly parenting tips e-zine. You’ll receive a free copy of her Special Report entitled, “The 8 Habits of Highly Effective Parents” when you sign up.