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Start now to ease into school routine



apple.jpgAs much as we might want to keep hitting that Snooze button on the alarm clock, the start of school is approaching, and we want to help you get a jump on things. If you start to ease into it now, it won't be such a shock to the system when that first school bell rings.

Get to sleep: Now is the time to start getting your kids into sleep shape for school. Studies have shown that children who get eight to 11 hours of sleep are more likely to earn higher grades. The best method is to do it gradually, especially if you’ve been on an up-all-night, loll around all day pattern this summer. You can start now by gradually moving bed times and wakeup times earlier (about 15 minutes every other day) until you are to the point where kids will be able to wake up in time once school starts.

Get outside more: One of the very best tricks to getting kids to sleep well at night is wear them out during the day. It’s also good for the brain. As biologist John Medina notes in the best-seller Brain Rules, exercise increases oxygen flow into the brain, and an increase in oxygen is always accompanied by an uptick in mental sharpness, Medina notes. So consider it homework.

Designate a “launch pad” Pick a chair, cubby or a place by the door NOW for where backpacks, lunchboxes and sports gear that needs to leave with them will go. This isn’t a bad habit for summer camps, either, so consider it practice.

Plan your routine now: I call it doing my homework while the kids do theirs. This is when I go through backpacks and sign what needs signing, send in money for field trips or note meetings in my calendar. It’s also a good time to log onto the school’s website and see if there’s any announcements and maybe check grades. Resolve not to put permission stuff and other slips of paper into a “to do” pile the invariably doesn’t get done. Do it right then and get it out of the way before you forget.

Get a notebook for yourself: Start off the school year with a binder of your own in the house for all the school papers, fliers, Web site passwords and carpool information in one neat notebook. You could have one massive one or create a notebook for each child.

Pledge to do less: Yes, you read that right. Do less. Teach the kids how to make their own lunch, sell their own fundraisers, check their own computer portal to make sure the teacher recorded their grade correctly. The outfit you have to wear is wrinkled? Learn to iron or horde bottles of Downy Wrinkle Releaser spray, kiddo.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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