The words "back to school" usually fill parents with an equal mix of elation and jitters.
After all, how can you be expected to get all those extra chores done when you haven't even gotten to everything on last year's back-to-school list quite yet?
With your kids seemingly plugged permanently into a mythical never-ending summer, getting them going again can be hard, to say the least.
All these thoughts and more are running through your head and then you hear the voices. They are coming in out from outside demanding food and drink. Gritting one's teeth too loud wouldn't be a good idea. Maybe it is time to get started.
Repeat after us: this year is going to be different. Just follow the five following tips to help ease the summer-to-school transition.
Let's start by getting a good night's sleep ...
Roll back those bedtimes
Kids feel as if they own the world because they don't have to go to bed as early. Again, this year is going to be different.
Bedtimes should ideally start to change two weeks before school, moving back gradually until they match up with school year bedtimes.
If your kids are above the age of 9 or 10 and can interact relatively well, have a family meeting to discuss bedtimes. Introducing a reward system is an especially good way to get their attention.
Let them know each will be given 150 points to start the back to school preparation period. Those who comply with the new bedtime get to keep the points, which they can "cash in" for an agreed-upon reward.
On the flip side, complaints, whining and tantrums result in lost points and a much smaller reward when it comes time to cash in.
Our next tip ensures your students can make a fashion statement without hurting your bank statement ...
Set a strict clothes budget
Budgeting is the buzzword in most households, especially these days. But kids often have eyes for clothes like they do for birthday cake: they always want more.
Before hitting the stores, spread out the back-to-school ads and let your kids know what this year's clothes budget will be. There will always be certain items kids consider status symbols that they just have to have. If their fancied item is outside of your budget, suggest chores to make up the difference.
Tell each child how much you can spend on them. They can have a hand in stretching the budget if they find items on sale or a lay-away-plan. Anyone participating in a practical manner -- meaning no eye-rolling -- can have the opportunity to earn additional reward points.
Any child who is still moaning and oozing a bad attitude after all this will be subject to loosing some points.
Moving on, be sure to make those list and check them twice ...
Do your homework on school supplies
Even the most veteran back-to-school shopper can get rattled by the school supply list.
In these times of budget cutbacks, students have become responsible for an ever-growing list spanning everything from folders and notebooks to disinfecting wipes and graphing calculators.