My middle child started high school today. It’s going to be interesting.
My son went from being a tidy little boy to a disorganized teen…school papers in disarray, handwritting impossible to read, clothes on the floor, and cell phone almost always out of battery power.
What does high school have in store for him? Classes are getting harder and his college future is getting closer.
Like most parents, I want my kid to have a trouble-free school year. So, I searched around for some tips from experts to help both him and your teen stay organized. I found some on on a parenting website and added a few that I’m going to try out on my kids. I’d love to hear any strategies you use.
Organize your time. By high school, teens need to know their weekly schedule. If they have appointments or reoccuring activities, write them down in a prominent place in your home. All changes and additions to this weekly schedule should be discussed. And make sure your kid has his or her own agenda — and uses it. Make a habit of checking it once in a while to make sure your teen is using it.
Organize school supplies. Have you ever made a trip to a 24-hour Wal-Mart to buy poster board at 10 p.m.? Reluctantly, I admit I have. In high school your teen is going to need everything from a sharpened #2 pencil for all computerized tests to deodorant for gym class. Use your teen’s school list as your guide but stock up on poster board, copy paper, printer ink and anything else that could have you make the manic mom midnight dash.
Set goals and expectations. The start of the school year is a great time to re-examine school performance – both academically and extra curricular activities. Remember to set doable goals and try not to over stress your teenager. After open house, my son was overwhelmed with the amount of homework teachers said they planned to give him. We talked about getting him on a routine that involves some exercise after school, then homework, then an activity he enjoys such as playing guitar.
Get emotionally ready. A new school year can mean a lot of stress for teens and parents. Talk to each other about the school year coming up and reaffirm with your teenager that you are there to help whenever help is needed. Be sure to tell him/her this and don’t assume he/she already knows. It is easier to handle stress from outside sources – like school – when you know someone is on your side.
Set a sleep schedule. It was brutal waking up my teens for high school this morning. I now know that I need to help them develop a nighttime routine that involves activities that slow them down for the end of the day — taking a bath or reading. Experts says turning off the computer and disconnecting from friends and the commotion of the day an hour before bedtime will also help your teen relax. They also advice setting a time for ‘lights out’ on school nights — typically 10 p.m.
Below: (My teens entering school this morning, sleepy and embarrassed that mom would consider taking a photo through the car window)