By Eileen Crawford, MS, LMHC
The arrival of August creates unique challenges for Celebration families this year. Not only are we facing the annual treks to Walmart and Target to check off school supply lists and update the uniform supply, but also K-8 parents must adjust to a noticeable schedule change. This year school starts – and ends – an hour later than it ever has. For working parents juggling child-care options and drop-off and pick-up times, this shift could cause a three-alarm headache, but there are approaches we can take to make the most of our re-arranged day.
Make Mornings Meaningful: Ask any adult, “what could you do with an extra hour in your day?” and – after first jumping for joy – we would give you 15 answers.
Ask a child and their responses might surprise you.
Grownups make this extra 8:00-9:00 hour count for something positive. If your schedule allows, let your child grab an extra hour of sleep in the morning. If you have an early riser or need to get them to daycare or a neighbor’s, try to use this hour for something relaxing and creative. While it will be tempting to have children finish homework in the morning, this is a temptation worth resisting. What you do not want is a frustrated student who could not understand the math homework heading straight off to school. Let them read, practice an instrument or play for a while. Give your child a calm and peaceful start to the day so he or she arrives at school awake, relaxed, and ready to learn.
Alter after-school hours: With a short afternoon, everyone will feel the pressure to cram a lot in snack, sports or play practice, playtime, and the ugliest monster of all – homework. It will be important to define and limit the amount of time your student labors over homework. The purpose of homework is to reinforce and practice what was taught. Check with your child’s teacher early on asking how long they expect nightly homework should take. Then allow that much time, adding just a few extra minutes if needed. Remember, homework helps the teacher know how well children understood what they were taught. Either your child will know how to do it, or they won’t quite have mastered it yet. Some encouraging support from you is helpful, but arguing over homework or immersing yourself in it for them are both counter-productive. Encourage your child to work at it for the budgeted time but when the buzzer sounds, both of you are released from the gnarly grip of the dreaded homework monster. Now have some fun!
Eileen Crawford is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in private practice in Celebration.
Learn more at CounselingforFamilyHealth.com.
The above article appears in the August 2019 edition of the Celebration News