Prepare for a smooth start to your school year
Dr. Colleen McCurry
As we enjoy the end of the summer, we also anticipate the upcoming school year.
"Many parents identify getting their kids up and ready for school as a hard and stressful adjustment after a summer of less structure," says family medicine physician Colleen McCurry, MD, Gundersen Boscobel.
Dr. McCurry offers the following helpful ideas to decrease those stressful mornings, so everyone can start the day on an enjoyable note:
- Establish a morning routine. Address with your child(ren) that it is important everyone follow the routine, or consequences will result. For example, you could tell your children that if they do not get up on time, bedtime will be 15 minutes earlier tonight. Help them understand that when the routine isn't followed, it causes problems for everyone.
- Only do what is important. Mornings should be simple, not filled with many tasks.
- Clothing, down to the socks, should be laid out each night before bed. Children can play a role in choosing the outfit, but no changes are allowed once their head hits the pillow. Stick with it in the morning.
- If you have several children, consider staggering wake-up times. Start with kids who need assistance first or are sleepy and move slow in the mornings.
- Instill self-responsibility. Middle and high school kids can learn to use alarm clocks and get themselves up without mom or dad hovering. Responsibility is a great lesson for kids.
- Determine breakfast/lunch choices in advance. You may have choices for breakfast but make those choices in advance. You can have a weekly breakfast at home (such as cereal or fruit), or use the breakfast provided at school or work. With lunch decisions, determine ahead of time whether lunches for the whole family can be made the night before and grabbed easily in the morning, or plan for the kids to get lunch at school.
- Designate an area for all essentials to be located when you are to leave. Keys, backpacks, cell phones, shoes, and purses should all be placed in this area every day. Keep a cell phone charger in this area. Not having to hunt things down at the last-minute saves time.
- Model morning behavior. If parents groan and moan about the morning, kids will mirror that behavior. Get yourself up earlier and start the morning with 10 minutes of exercise or your usual coffee. Show a positive attitude and really mean it when you greet your kids with "Good morning." When it is a school holiday or a lazy weekend, a sleep-in day can then be a reward.
Your child's annual wellness exam is an excellent time to discuss this or other related topics. For an appointment with Colleen McCurry, MD or a fellow provider in Boscobel, Fennimore or Muscoda, please call Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics at (608) 375-4144. www.gundersenhealth.org/boscobel