It is that time of year again.  The time when we trade days filled with camp, trips, and late bed times for structure, homework, and early wake ups.  Although many parents are often relieved to get the year started, the transition back to school may not be easy for children or parents.

As you child begins school, we recommend developing a regular routine for mornings and after school time.  Getting into these routines, however, can be a source of tension in many families.  You may find yourself repeating directions and yelling as you try to get your child moving in the morning.  Remember to keep tensions down and stay calm.

If you child is not good at a part of the routine, you can help.  If he or she has a hard time getting dressed, for example you can try picking clothes out the night before.  Waking up early before your children can also help reduce your stress level in the morning. You can even practice getting dressed on the weekends, when there is not as much pressure.  Have your child pretend to get dressed (go through the motions) and cheer him on for doing so cooperatively.  This will help develop the behavior in your child during the week.

You may notice as you work on these routines, some tasks don’t get done, and that is okay.  It is more important to remain calm and focus on what went well with the knowledge that you and your child will iron out the kinks as time goes on.

Homework – One of the most difficult challenges!

Every new school year presents new experiences and challenges. Homework doesn’t have to be a struggle.  Here are some tips to help you and your child off to a happy homework place this year.

  • Establish a distraction free zone to do homework.
  • Choose and stick to an approximate start time.
  • Have the proper materials (pencils, lamp, paper) and let your child choose them.
  • Use a teacher involved daily assignment sheet.
  • Stay calm and be specific when you are telling your child to start homework.
  • Praise your child’s efforts before correcting mistakes.
  • Take a break if things get heated.
  • Set up a plan to reinforce homework if it is difficult, your child can earn small rewards or privileges for doing it calmly and praise.