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Staying a Step Ahead

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Anticipating Problems Could Help Your Child Have a Smoother School Year

My pediatrician once told me, “Good parents know how to stay a step ahead of their kids,” during a routine visit. His words have stuck with me. He was right, of course, and “Back to School” is the perfect time for parents to try to think “a step ahead” and anticipate potential school-related hiccups.

Every family encounters snags when it comes to school. Maybe one child is slow out the door in the morning. Another can’t settle down to homework. Another is too exhausted at the end of the school day to be game for doing, well, anything. In anticipation of our family’s tendency to be slow out the door in the morning, and the fact that we are going to be carpooling this year and our 7:40 (ish) departures are not going to cut it anymore, we are making some changes.

My teen daughter goes to a school with a dress code. I thought I was in the clear in terms of wardrobe related delays. No such luck. Who could have imagined that finding a pair of favorite socks could take such a long time? I am now making the rule that clothing needs to be set out the day before—before dinner. Showers are going to happen the night before too. A girlfriend of mine has children who are completely “out of gas” when she picks them up at the end of the school day. A nutritionist friend of hers suggested that her children might need to refuel more frequently. She is resolving to arrive at school pick-up with a mini-meal in tow.

The goal behind these changes is a smoother, easier school year for all parties. There will be new challenges, of course, but at least by anticipating the ones I know about ahead of time, I can try to follow my pediatrician’s wise counsel and stay “a step ahead” of my kids.

[AUTHOR: Hilary Doubleday]

August 27, 2012

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