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Back-to-school Solutions

September 18, 2017
By Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts - Dear Teacher , OVParent

DEAR TEACHER: School has just started, and I am already having nightly homework battles with my fifth-grade son. - Exhausted

Answer: Families should definitely try to avoid homework battles, as they put a strain on relationships. A good start to avoiding the nightly homework battle is to use a homework contract that spells out when homework will be done. The child can choose the times with parental input. And both parent and child can decide if rewards or penalties should be tied to the contract. Dear Teacher has a free contract on our website (Dear It can easily be modified to meet most families' needs.

One other thing that makes doing homework easier is the use of a planner. This should ensure that all nightly assignments are clear to a student as well as the dates of future tests and reports. If an entire class is using the same planner, it is an even more helpful aid, as the teacher is more than likely helping the students put down the important information that they need.

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Question: School has now only been in session for a week, and our school mornings are a disaster. How can we improve our morning situation? - Chaos

Answer: Mornings, especially school mornings, can definitely be a struggle in many households. And studies have shown that when students arrived at school after a chaotic start to the day, it is very difficult for them to get into the calm learning mode that is necessary for them to learn the material that the teacher will be presenting in class.

You definitely need to structure your mornings and talk to your children about the new structure. It is best to start the morning preparations the evening before. Call a family meeting and decide who will be responsible for the different morning tasks that need to be accomplished to get everyone out the door. Begin by drawing up a schedule.

The night before:

- Children should shower or take a bath before going to bed.

- Children should lay out what they are going to wear. This will make dressing much quicker, and no time will be lost trying to make a clothing selection.

- Backpacks need to be packed and left by the door. A list should be checked so nothing is forgotten: gym shoes, library books, homework assignments and textbooks.

- Lunches should be packed.

In the morning:

- Everyone should have an alarm clock. When it goes off, you get up.

- Get dressed.

- Eat breakfast.

- Get your lunch, backpack and off the children go!



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