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Challenge: Back to School

Power Down to Power Up

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Back to school begins August 1st in our house. Leaving us roughly 21 days to get our collective act together. I have been slacking all summer right beside my kids so leading by example did not go so well.

Then August, the mother of all wake-up calls, rolls in. I think back to all the really crappy mornings of the last school year and cringe. Time to dig deep.

Here is how we power down from summer and power up for the fall.

1. Move bedtime back by 15 minutes every couple of days. Yes it is still light out. Yes they will wake up earlier. Yes that makes for some serious whining but eventually their clocks reset (even the teenagers) and getting out of bed for school won't require a bull horn and heavy lifting on your part.

2. Cut down screen time incrementally. I am not suggesting a set time (ie, 10 mins each day) because every family has differing rules about time spent on electronics from the get go. So, if you only allow 2-hrs screen time now, you won't need to decrease as frequently as the household that allows 5-hrs and so on. Don't count on the fact that they won't have time for electronics once school starts. They are sneaky critters, we need to show them how to spend their time today.

3. Make kids do some sort of homework every afternoon. Even if you are a show off mom who has summer work completed, this still applies to you. Get the kids out of the house and moving in camp, errands whatever and then stick some math problems in front of them at 3pm. This is their grind for the next nine months, time to buck up now.

4. Stop snacking all day. All those stops for Slurpees, ice cream, treats and Starbucks--wait that's me-- are killing our metabolism. I know my kids eat even more when hanging at home. Come September they are going to go long stretches without food during the day. Train the tummies now. Hearty, scheduled meals are the way help them transition to the harshness of being forced to live off their fat between breakfast and snack time.

5. Slow down while you can. Every year I say the school year goes by in a blur and each year I really, really mean it. Savor these slower days. Build your reserves. Doing nothing for some portion of every day opens up a world of possibilities that won't be an option once the family calendar kicks into high gear.

Good luck and remember every uphill has a downhill after it. It's ok to let yourself coast.

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