Back to school, part 2

 
        Itís time to get ready to return to school. Within a few weeks, the lives of your family members will change drastically. A little preparation among the members of the family can help to make the transition smooth.

Independence

        Many parents are particularly frazzled when it comes to kidsí activities because the adults take on too much of the responsibility for getting things done.

        An important job of parenting is to prepare children for independence. In my experience working with parents, the most frequent comment I hear goes something like this: "She doesnít do it right, so I might as well do it myself."

        Yes, your child will make a bigger mess pouring juice than you will. Not only that, but she will not clean it up nearly as well. In denying her the opportunity to do it herself, however, you are hampering her growth.

        Many parents, then, need to give up on the thoughts of perfection. The chores will not be done to your standards, but they will be done. And continual practice with serving oneself breakfast, making beds, and following through on assignments will help move children closer to the independence they will need as they work their way through middle and high school.

Planning the night before

        Work with your family members to see which jobs can be done in the evening, before going to bed, rather than in the morning. Since the morning rush is a huge contributor to family stress, there are many activities you may choose to do the night before. Among them are: bath or shower, setting out clothing, and making lunch and putting it in the refrigerator. Most of all, be sure that backpacks are packed with all homework and papers that have to be returned to school. Designate a place near the door for all these materials to be placed so that all you have to do is grab them and go.

        Keeping these principles in mind, consider working with your children to set up practice days before school starts. It need not be every day until school starts, but in family meetings you may decide to designate certain days as practice so that you can test the ideas.

  

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