Are We There Yet?
Let’s face it. After a summer of lollygagging around, the advent of a new school year is a really great excuse for me to get my butt out of bed. Unlike my husband and first-born son, my eyes do not pop open at first light. Sometimes they don’t even pop open until well after the second cup of coffee. But, like all parents of school-aged children, I find that fall forces me into a new paradigm. If I don’t get up, they don’t get up. And we’re both in trouble with the principal.School offers me a chance to kick the habit and get a fresh start. A new lease on life. Chart new ground, create new beginnings. It’s amazing how many adults revel in the start of a new school year, whether they have kids or not. There’s kind of a buzz this time of year, and it’s not just all the teenagers drinking Red Bull. School is a great time to create ourselves anew – new wardrobe, new study habits, new methods of communication, new friends and new activities. There’s fresh promise in a new grade, no matter what your age.Fall is the new New Year’s – maybe even better for making resolutions because there’s not all that leftover Christmas candy to finish off. It takes 21 days to change a habit or create new patterns in life so if we resolve to make changes at the start of the school year, and we stick to it, we can expect it to be second nature within a matter of three weeks. Want more patience and a calmer start to the morning? Try packing lunches and backpacks the night before so you can actually sit down to breakfast with the kids. Want a less rushed evening routine? Try heading to the bedroom thirty minutes early to read and talk and rub backs instead of spewing out a hurried “get to sleep!” ten minutes after bed-time.Looking for an opportunity to connect with your middle-schooler? Build in a thirty-minute after-dinner walk while the weather is still nice. Want more cooperation at home? Set up a schedule for who makes dinner and who helps with the dishes.Hoping to work out a bit? Go for a thirty-minute hike or walk right before picking up the kids from school.Want to change the negative talk between you and your kids? Bite your tongue, smile and don’t speak until you can say it in a friendly voice.All this in just 21 days? Heck, if I work it right I should be awake by then. Charla Belinski teaches Redirecting Children’s Behavior and is a freelance writer. Her column appears every other Sunday in the Post Independent. Contact Charla at Belinskis@comcast.net.Charla Belinski teaches Redirecting Children’s Behavior and is a freelance writer. Her column appears every other Sunday in the Post Independent. Contact Charla at Belinskis@comcast.net.
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