back-to-schoolA lot of parents are shaking their heads in disbelief that it’s that time again. As a parent, it’s easy to get caught up in the back to school frenzy of shopping for clothes and school supplies, scheduling doctor’s appointments, arranging car pools, etc. Yet, back to school success also includes some foresight and planning the transition from summer to school.

Setting the alarm clock, dealing with homework, limiting screen time and figuring out how to deal with all the extra-curricular activities all require some special planning.

Rise and Shine: Start now having your child incrementally set their alarm to wake up a few minutes early each week so that the week before school starts they are waking up at their regular school wake up time. Yes, even preschoolers can learn to set an alarm clock with your help. Just be sure the alarm clock will
not startle your child and will be effective to wake your child pleasantly on time. You can also have your children go to bed a few minutes early each week to match the earlier wake up time. Yes, I know this is not a popular decision with your children.

Routines: Daily routines can make the difference between total chaos and a smooth start to the day. Create a daily routine schedule with your children. You can break the daily routine into three times of the day, morning, after school and bedtime. Get your children involved in creating the routine chart. Ask your
child what things he or she needs to do at each time of the day. Invite your child to think about what things need to be done first as part of the routine and what things need to be done later. Children will have more ownership in their schedule and will be more likely to cooperate with their routine chart if they have been involved in making the chart.

Homework: Find a location in the house where homework will be done.  Ask your child where the best place is to work. Both you and your child need to discuss pros and cons of different settings to arrive at a mutually agreed upon location. Establish a homework time. Your child should get in the habit of doing
homework at the same time every day. The time may vary depending on the individual child. In general, it may be best to get homework done either before dinner or as early in the evening as the child can tolerate. The later it gets, the more tired the child becomes and the more slowly the homework gets done.

Screen/Technology Limits: Most children have limited free time during the school week. Don’t let your child spend all of it in front of a screen. Develop clear and consistent “house rules” for the frequency and use of television, media and computers in your home. Avoid using TV and video or computer games as a reward for finishing homework and chores. Set a good example. Be a good role model by limiting your own screen time.

Extracurricular Activities: Go for quality, not quantity. Your child will benefit most from one or two activities that are fun, reinforce social development, and teach new skills. Too much scheduled time can be stressful, especially for young children, and may make it harder to concentrate on schoolwork. Evaluate your
family’s schedule and personal energy level when considering extra curricular activities. Multiple activities per child may be too much to manage, particularly if the activities have overlapping times, disparate locations, require your attendance, or disrupt the dinner hour.

If you would like to talk with me personally about your specific situation, please call me today to set up a time at 781 254-1682 or send me an e-mail at