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Friday, 19 September 2014 12:43

School Rules!

School Rules!

Simple Techniques to Help Your Children Have a Successful New School Year


By Meghan D. Lemery, LCSW-R

For Saratoga TODAY


Every year at the end of September my voicemail is full of anxious parents calling to get their kids into counseling for anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and poor grades. 

Do not wait until a crisis occurs to help your child have a successful year. Implement simple and effective basic rules that will help develop a healthy, confident, energetic student who succeeds in school!


Rise and Shine

What time do you expect your kids to get out of bed and get ready for school? Do you have to scream from the bottom of the stairs and run around like a crazy person to get them to school on time? 

Stop the insanity. Have a family pow-wow and be clear about what time they need to get up. Do not enable lazy behavior by being your child’s personal alarm clock. Provide them with their own alarm, help them set it and refuse to get pulled into the drama of a wake-up war every morning.  

Start as early as kindergarten teaching your child how to rise and shine. 

If you have kids in middle and high school, and you are still waking them up, you are setting them up for failure in college or at a job. Let them be late and suffer the consequences of detention. If you are always there to wake them up and race to school to get them there on time, they will never learn to do it themselves. 

Teach your kids to rise and shine in a responsible, calm way that keeps the household free of chaos.


Check Yourself

Are you the type of parent who is grumpy and snippy in the morning? Recognize that your mood in the morning will dictate how things go. Get organized and do what you need to do to stay away from creating a morning full of negativity and bad energy. 

Children who start their mornings with negative messages from their parents are more likely to suffer from a negative attitude and poor self-esteem. Take charge of your bad habits and make the changes you need to have a positive, peaceful morning with your family.


Clean the Pantry

One of the best indicators of how your child’s day will go can be found in your pantry. Check the labels. If you are serving your child a breakfast or lunch that contains high amounts of sugar, you are setting yourself up for a moody, miserable child who struggles to pay attention and has snug fitting clothes. They may feel a great surge of energy leaving the house, but in an hour they will be asleep on their desk and irritable.

Sugar is a HUGE energy drainer, pound packer, attention stealer and mood buster. Throw away the crap in your pantry and get serious about stocking it with foods that will boost your child’s energy and give them the ability to stay alert throughout the day.


Get Moving

I am alarmed when I work with teens whose parents let them come home from school and play video games or watch TV for hours. This is so bad for our students! 

Getting fresh air and exercising after each school day clears their minds from the busy day and helps them relieve anxiety and tension. Sign them up for sports, clubs or a gym membership. Teach your children that physically moving around releases endorphins that will calm them down and sharpen their study skills. 

Get off the couch and get moving! 


Check Please

Make it a ritual to go over all homework assignments and upcoming tests. Schedule a regular time that homework needs to be completed by and make sure it’s at least an hour before bedtime. Designate an area that is quiet for them to work and make cell phones and other electronics unavailable during this time. Your child will work faster without distraction and know that the bar is set for homework to be completed.  

Giving them guidance and tools to complete homework sets them up for success in college and teaches them how to have good study habits. Don’t be a passive parent and let your student fall behind and miss assignments. Be proactive to set up meetings with teachers as soon as you feel concerned that they may be falling behind. If you see academic success as a priority, your child is more likely to take pride in succeeding.


Lights Out

Make bedtime on school nights the same time every night. Turn off all phones, TVs and electronics before bed. 

Kids who are on electronics before bed have trouble falling asleep and an even harder time waking up. Try going back to the dark ages and giving them an actual book to read! 

I know it sounds crazy, but getting your child in the habit of reading before bed teaches them how to wind down the day and expands their knowledge and imagination. 

Spend time at the edge of your child’s bed every evening and give them a comfy cozy send-off to sweet dreams. This simple act of warmth and affection sets the stage for restful sleep and welcoming the new day with a sense of safety and security. 

Kids who grow up without security, structure, rules, attention and warmth are more likely to fall into the “wrong” crowd, use drugs or have sex at an early age. Make time to connect with your child at the end of each day. We are never too old to be tucked in!

Proactive parenting throughout the school year is essential to your child’s success in every way. Get a strategy in place and do whatever it takes to help launch the next generation of leaders. They are depending on you!

Wishing you all a fantastic New School Year! 


For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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