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Hartselle Enquirer

A real world mom’s advice for heading back to school

Well, we’re into the countdown.  If you are asking, “What countdown?” then you must not have children.
Yep, it’s almost back-to- school time.  You might notice a lack of enthusiasm in this writer’s attitude;  basically, because I’m not enthused! I love summer with my kids.
Nevertheless, whether I like it or not school is getting ready to start and I must get ready for it.  Of course each year things change.
This year I have one entering college and one entering high school.  Additionally, I have a junior, a seventh grader and  a second grader.
Since both John and I graduated from college, it is not totally foreign territory.
However, everybody has to learn to deal with it in their own way.  Just like my high school freshman will have to find her own way.
Parents can only supply the tools for success.  It is up to the students to use them.
I am a big believer in planners.  I use one and have found it to be an invaluable tool.   I keep just about everything in it.  The kids have learned that if you need mom to do something, you better make sure she puts it in her planner or it is probably not going to get done.
I provide a planner for each one of my students except the second grader.
Most elementary teachers have their own system and will let you know what they want for their classroom.
Hartselle Junior High has wonderful planners available for just $4.
Of course, a planner is not the only thing they need. Yes, I’m talking about school supplies.
I know they are a necessary evil.  However, I can’t help but wonder if it would be cheaper if it was all bought in bulk and then divided up.
It seems like most of the supplies go into a “community” pile anyway.  Just a thought.  I think I’ll explore this idea again toward the end of this school year.
This is also a great time of year to look through the clothes and assess how much our children have grown and maybe hit some back-to-school sales.
If your child is going to junior high I have several tips for you:
1. Boys and girls change physically and mentally an enormous  amount during this time.
They seriously begin to assert some independence and want to pick out their own clothes and they are also very concerned about “fitting in.”
I am not a fan of the “everyone else is doing it,” but on the same hand you don’t want your child to look like they are five.
2. All students have to dress out for PE.  So buying your sixth grader that “cute” underwear is probably not a great idea.
3. If you have moved into an area, check out the school’s dress code.  We had this problem when we moved from Kentucky there was a big difference in the dress code and we ended up with a problem.  I hadn’t checked the dress code
I just assumed it would be basically the same as Kentucky’s.  I was in error.
On the subject of actually starting back-to-school, it is a good idea to start getting back in the habit of going to bed on time, getting up earlier and establishing a routine.
It will make the first couple of  weeks of school less stressful.
If you have a child that is particularly stressed out the best thing you can do is give him or her some strategies for coping.
Talk to your child and find out what has him or her stressed the most.   Is it finding their classroom or classrooms?
Is it meeting a new teacher?  Are they afraid of not being able to keep up with their homework?
Is there another child that your child did not get along with last year and your child is afraid of spending another year with him or her? (You can discuss that problem with the principal.)
Many new junior high students and high school freshman fear hazing.  Of course, I this list could go on forever, but the point is help your child find ways to alleviate his or her fears.  I do not mean solve the problem for them.
Always start with, “What do you think you could do to prepare for this?” or “Well, what do you need to be prepared in case this happens?”
I still believe some of the best “activities” a parent can spend with a child are things like sharing a good book together, watching a favorite movie and sharing a bowl of popcorn, planting a bed of flowers, taking a hike, going swimming, or just talking.
So before school starts and everything gets really, really hectic. spend a little time enjoying your children and then I guess, well, we go back to school.
Yippee.
If you have a question, comment, or tip for Mom’s Corner e-mail:  moms-corner@juno.com

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