back to school tip for parents


How to Offset the Back-to-School Blues
by Christine Louise Hohlbaum
Diary of a Mother

My mother once said the only thing we can count on in life is change. Our children change, we change, cities change, Presidents change, and unless you live near the equator, seasons change.

A new season is upon us, not just weather-wise, but also rhythm-wise. Our children are back to school, their schedules are full, and life seems a bit more overwhelming than usual. As your kids settle into their new routines, there are certain things we parents can do to assist them and ourselves, too.

We require coping skills to manage the transition in our lives. When I saw my three-year-old off to preschool for the first time yesterday, my heart strings twanged with pain and loss. At the same time, I saw his breathy figure describe to me the things he experienced that day. His cheeks flushed, his eyes animated, I embraced the transition from toddler to preschooler with a bit more composure than I really possessed. Being happy for our kids as they learn new things is an appropriate reaction to the new rituals in their lives. 

With gratitude, accept the change you witness in your kidsí lives as a positive development and an opportunity for you all to grow and learn in new ways.

Your household has experienced a seismic shift since the luxurious days of school vacation. Early morning can mean rushed parents and grumpy children if you donít get organized.

Rule #1: Plan ahead. Lay out what you will wear the night before. Iron whatever you need to in the evening while watching the evening news, for example.

Rule#2: Make a meal plan for lunches and dinner. Stick to it. Use a wipe-able board to put down the planned meals for everyone to view. Have your children decide on one meal per week and have them prepare it, too!

Rule#3: Realign household chores. Summertime is time for enrichment, fun, and learning, too. As your new second-grader grows, she may be ready for new challenges at home, too. If she was responsible for vacuuming her room, add making the bed to the list of to-dos. But donít overdo it. Kids can get overwhelmed easily at this time of year.

Rule#4: If your child is shy, give him language to deal with his issues. Engage in role-playing to get your child used to meeting new people. My five-year-old daughter now knows how to ask for her playmatesí names and to offer hers, too. It breaks the ice and facilitates making friends fast and painlessly.

Rule#5: Try not to plan any significant changes such as major house renovations, moving or getting a new pet. Give your child a few weeks to settle into his new routine before adding something new to his plateóor to yours, for that matter!

Christine Louise Hohlbaum, American author of Diary of a Mother: Parenting Stories and Other Stuff, has been published in hundreds of publications. When she isnít writing, leading toddler playgroups or wiping up messes, she prefers to frolic in the Bavarian countryside near Munich where she lives with her husband and two children. Visit her Web site:

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back to school tip for parents


back to school tip for parents