Preparing for Back to School

by Major Mom

back-to-schoolCan you believe it’s already time to start thinking about the kids going back to school?  It will be here before we know it.  It’s best to get prepared now to make the transition of going back to school that much easier. Consider implementing one or all of these tips to make this school year the most successful it can be.

  • Establish routines. Summertime tends to be less structured than the school year. Children stay up later, wake later and have less overall responsibility. It’s important to begin setting the school year expectations well in advance to avoid problems with the adjustment. It’s never a good idea to start your new routines on the first day of school. Build up slowly to the new schedule.

  • Create a homework station. It can be helpful to establish a dedicated place in the home where children are expected to complete their homework. Set up the space with the supplies such as pencils, extra paper, dictionary, rulers, crayons, and other items that may be particular to your child’s grade level to help them complete their work efficiently. Having a dedicated space can help train the brain to focus more quickly.

  • Backpack/Out the door station. If there is nowhere to hang a backpack and coat where else is a child supposed to place them but on the floor? Create a small space where children place their items when they return home from school. It can be difficult to get them to use it right away, but if you stick with it and set the expectation far in advance they will eventually do it without thinking about it.

  • Lunch making station. Lunches are much easier to put together when you have everything you need in one place.  Dedicate a drawer or cabinet to everything need for lunches. Include Ziploc bags, plastic utensils, paper sacks, lunch boxes and non-perishable foods to make lunch making a snap.

  • Create a system for all that school paper. Children bring home A LOT of paper!  Be prepared  this year by setting up a sustainable system.

1.      Have an inbox for the paper they bring home daily.

2.      Before paper hits the inbox take 2 minutes to sort through them and decide what must stay and what goes.

3.      Separate action paper (permission slips, etc.) from paper to file (artwork, test grades).

4.      Keep a file folder handy of all action items.

5.      Keep a large tote of paper to file.

6.      Monthly or quarterly spend time with each child going through their tote of paper to file. Decide which items are important to both you and your child. Date the important items (you will forget later!) and toss the rest.

7.      Consider scanning the items you’re keeping to further reduce paper clutter. 

  • Update clothing. Spend time cleaning out clothing drawers and closets. Put away or donate any clothing that is too small or too big. Getting dressed in the morning is much easier for children when their drawers aren’t overflowing with clothes that don’t fit them anymore.

Have you had the talk with your daughter? Just 4 Questions can save her life.

by D. Bryant Simmons

datingDating abuse is a reality not often discussed when the topic turns to domestic violence. Adults tend to dismiss the social interactions of pre-teens and teens as puppy love—immature and unequal to the romantic relationships between adults. Well, did you know that one out of three adolescent girls has been a victim of verbal, physical, or emotional abuse from someone they dated?i And nearly half of teenage girls know someone that is dealing with dating abuse.ii What you don’t know about your kid’s relationship with their boyfriend or girlfriend could be the makings of a life or death situation.

Before dating becomes a possibility, before the “first kiss, there are four questions every mother and father should ask their daughter.

1. Do you know what makes you special?
Ignore her awkwardness and wait patiently for a real answer. The goal is not for her to state the obvious, that she’s tall or athletic or has a decent head of hair. The answer has to be more than skin-deep. Affirm the qualities that she’s recognized and add a few of your own. Give her examples. Remember the time that you….I was so proud because….

2. When you start dating what rights do you have?
She has the right to end the relationship at any time. She has the right to withhold consent for anything at anytime. If she doesn’t think of these rights describe situations where she would want to enact these rights to help her understand each one. Then restate the rights in a concise manner like above.

3. When dating what responsibilities do you have? To yourself, to the other person, and to your family?
This is your opportunity to lay out any rules you may have and dispel any dating myths. For instance, if a date spends a lot of money on you, then you owe him….

4. How do you set boundaries and how do you respond when someone disrespects those boundaries?
State clearly and explicitly what you expect and why at the beginning of a relationship. Have a no-tolerance policy regarding your physical and mental safety. No-tolerance means no second chances. If someone crosses the line tell your best friend, your parents, someone who cares about you. Ask for their support. Then report the person to the authorities. Do not let them get away without legal consequences and a permanent record. End all contact with the person.

You may have doubts about bringing law enforcement into this. We are talking about adolescents and teenagers here, right? They’re young. They can still change. Well, people do not change their behavior when the behavior doesn’t result in significant consequences. Here’s some more food for thought. If it happens again, this time to a different girl, and this time he goes even further the police will have to take it seriously. His parents will have to take it seriously because now we’ve established a pattern.

Encouraging a no-tolerance policy is the only way to say unequivocally to our girls, “That is unacceptable. You deserve better.” And have them believe it.

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