I LOVE to-do lists. Love them. I make them for myself, my husband (much to his dismay), my son, and of course, my clients.
But today, I’ve made a list of to-do’s for the parents who are reading this blog.
It’s that time of year that most parents look forward to: Back to school. Many of you skip happily through the crowded, chaotic school supply aisles while your kids begrudgingly throw notebooks into the shopping cart because you know the big day is right around the corner… You survived the summer! Success.
But whether you’re thanking your lucky stars, or feeling a little down because you’ll miss the liveliness in your home, you want the transition from lazy summer days to hectic school-day mornings to be an easy one for your kids (and yourself).
Check out this list from the Huffington Post that promises to make the new structure of a fall schedule less jarring, regardless of whether you have a seven-year-old or a 17-year-old:
Back Up Bedtime:
No matter what age your child is, chances are the bedtime hour has vacillated a bit over the past three months. Use these weeks before school to start transitioning into an earlier bedtime and a more structured wake-up routine. Ever try to wake a 15-year-old boy at 6:30 a.m. after a summer of sleeping until lunch? Exactly.
Collaborate on Calendars:
Add school and sports events to your calendar now, and share that information with your spouse and any other important people in your life. If your child is old enough to carry a smartphone or iPad, have him update his own calendar. This will encourage him to be responsible for his activities and can be a useful tool for tracking homework deadlines and social engagements. If your child is younger, discuss what each week will look like and create a chart that will help him understand his schedule. If your child can’t read, use stickers (a sticker of a soccer ball on Wednesday, for example).
Manage Medical Mayhem:
Make sure your child — no matter what his age — is up-to-date on vaccinations and physical exams. It’s easier to accomplish this task now rather than wait until the day before football practice starts.
Communicate About Communication:
Do you want your college freshman to connect with you daily? Weekly? Via phone? Via text? Via email? Clarify your expectations around this issue now to save headaches and heartaches later. Remember that your college freshman is, for the first time, out on his own. Maybe he doesn’t want to check in with you daily; or fill you in on every last detail of his day and night. Maybe you DO, in fact, want to hear his actual voice once or twice a week and would rather not find out about his life on Facebook. Communicating about communication will alleviate future confusion.
If you are parenting a younger child, carve out time at the end of each day to talk. Avoid asking: “How was school?” unless you are ok with getting a “Fine” in response. “Tell me during your science lab” or “What was the funniest thing that happened today” will get your child talking.
Navigate the Necessities:
Handle haircuts, new shoes, lunch boxes, school supplies, clothes and toiletries now. Let your child have a say in what he wants to wear on a regular basis and pick your rules sparingly. Forcing a kid to wear collared shirts and khakis while the rest of the pack is in sport shorts and sweatshirts are, um, mean. Agree that you have final say on special occasions (picture day, school plays, etc.).
For the college-bound, stores like Bed Bath & Beyond will allow you to shop for items in your home state and pick them up in another state, making packing the car that much easier. As for clothes, remind your child that less is more in a tiny space — and that you can always send needed items if necessary. Or use this as a way to entice them home more often…all’s fair in love and empty nesting.
Make It Easy:
Hoping your college freshman will send letters to you? His grandparents? His siblings? Provide him with a stack of funny cards and other various stationary along with a book of stamps and a list of addresses — and then just hope for the best. Offer a gentle reminder about how HAPPY his grandparents would be to receive a handwritten note from him. Remind him that his grandparents have been putting money in his college fund since birth!
Parents of high-schoolers, once you get your students prepared for the fall semester, Landmark 12 can take it from there. We’ll help them prepare for college. We assist with identifying possible majors, help with creating a college list, alert them to deadlines at those schools, coordinate campus visits, and locate scholarships. The one item on our to-do list is to make your list more manageable. Give us a call today!