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Community Commentary: Preparation is key before school starts back up

August 10, 2011|By Adam Grindlinger

I can't believe it's already August! My mailbox is flooded with the dreaded back-to-school sales. My wife and I are frantically scrambling to get in one last weekend trip with the kids before we succumb to the demands of the school calendar. Just thinking about back-to-school is stressing me out, and I graduated college back in '96.

There are several ways to manage the back-to-school stress that we all feel as parents. First things first: Enjoy the remainder of the summer! There are still several weeks of no school to plan a weekend getaway or day trip to a water park, zoo, camping or the beach. Talk to your kids and ask them if there is something special that they'd like to do before school starts. Have a family meeting, brainstorm some ideas, set a date and do it.

Next, while you are running around trying to buy back-to-school clothes and school supplies, you might want to keep in mind a few important suggestions to help ease the transition from the summer schedule to the school schedule. To begin with, establish routines and be organized, communicate with your partner and children, and review and revisit what worked and didn't work for your family last year.

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Establishing routines will decrease the overall stress and anxiety for both you and your children. For example, there is a difference with the bedtime and morning routines from the summer and the school year. Gradually start moving the bedtime to the time that the child will be going to bed come September. This will help get their body and internal clock set with the school clock. Also, start getting the child used to the morning routine of getting up when they would for school. This will also help them go to bed earlier like they would during school.

Another suggestion that I can't stress enough is how important communication is for every family member. Parents must communicate with each other to coordinate their daily schedules with the demands of their children's schedules. Who is making lunches in the morning? Who is getting the kids showered? Who walks the dog? Have the cell phones been charged? Communicating and setting clear expectations for each family member will alleviate confusion, bickering and stress.

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