Friday, December 13, 2013

No matter which year -end holiday you celebrate – or none at all –the fact is that most people take some time during the last weeks of December to reflect on the year that is about to end and about one’s life.  Here are some wonderful quotes from a variety of people that you might want to think about, and maybe even share:

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touches. They must be felt with the heart. Wishing you happiness.”Helen Keller

“This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity throughout the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays!”D. M. Dellinger

It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One! – Charles Dickens

May the lights of Hanukkah usher in a better world for all humankind.–Unknown

The seven principles of Kwanzaa -- unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith -- teach us that when we come together to strengthen our families and communities and honor the lesson of the past, we can face the future with joy and optimism. -President Bill Clinton

It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you... yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.Mother Theresa

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that? – Bob Hope

Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most. - Ruth Carter Stapleton

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.Andy Rooney

Love the giver more than the gift.Brigham Young

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. – Charles Schulz

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.-Hamilton Wright Mabie

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. -Calvin Coolidge

The time is always right to do what is right.-Martin Luther King, Jr.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Giving Meaningful Gifts to Those Who Mean A Lot

It's that time of year! The gift-giving season is now upon us. With all that we have to do in our hurried lives, there is little time to think of that perfect present we need to give to someone for a wedding, birthday, graduation, or holiday. If you worry about giving that family member or friend a meaningful, useful and thoughtful gift, here are some inexpensive ideas that you might want to try. Some of them even provide valuable time to be spent with your children and as a family when putting them together.

  1. Keep them warm with a quilt. Everybody likes a quilt. The present says that you want them to stay warm. Keep in mind the color scheme of the house when selecting your quilt.

  1.  A fancy leather-bound journal or diary. This gift tells them to record all of the moments in their day. When they look back on their life, they'll be glad they did.

  1. Make them a scrapbook, picture collage or poster in a nice frame with the memories of your friendship. This gift would be a fantastic weekend project, and it would mean so much to the person receiving it.

  1. Give a locket with a picture in it.
  1. Create a “bad day board” for them. Put together all of the things that this person loves in their life, and paste it onto a bulletin board as a work of art. This can include quotes, poems, pictures, anything that they love. When they are having a bad day, they can look at this and be reminded that life isn't so bad. 

  1. Buy t a picnic basket complete with all the plates, glasses, and silverware. This present suggests to take some time to enjoy the day and to observe nature.

  1. Give  a copy of their family tree. This is the perfect present for anyone who wants to know more about their family lineage.

  1. Board Games - In this age of electronics that pull us into our individual corners, coming together for a family game is old-fashioned fun that is underrated. Traditional Family Board Games will encourage a family game night!

  1. Family Calendar and Photos. This is a great gift for grandparents or family members you don’t see regularly. You can create a calendar with personal photos for every month. Also, the digital picture frames that rotate hundreds of photos are really nice but more expensive.

  1. Fresh Fruit. You can create your own gift basket of fresh fruit, and maybe even add other treats the recipient likes. Delicious and healthy!

  1. Create Something. Write a poem. Draw a picture. Sew something. Make a handmade ornament. Write a love letter. Create something from scratch with you own hands and heart.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

6 Easy Ways to Spread the Holiday Cheer

Tired of all the "grinches" who complain when the holiday season comes around? Want to make a difference and spread a little holiday cheer? You can! Making a difference is easy, fun, and can give you an opportunity to spend valuable time with your family. It can also turn out to be just what you needed to establish your own family tradition! It does not matter what holiday you and your family celebrate (Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or others). Here are some ideas:

Bake cookies for friends and neighbors.

Everyone loves cookies! A simple and sweet way to make people smile is to offer them a tasty treat. Block out an afternoon in your busy holiday schedule to bake cookies for friends, family, and neighbors - and ask your kids and spouse to help! To make the experience more memorable, invite close friends and family to join in for an all-day baking date.

Smile and wish people "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas."

It may sound simple, but what better way to spread holiday cheer then to show it and say it? While on your way to work, at the grocery store, or out shopping for family and friends this Holiday Season, be sure to smile and wish others "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas." This can only inspire others to follow your lead and spread the holiday peace and happiness. Positve attitude is contagious. Try it and you will see.

Give small gifts to those who provide services.

Giving small gifts from the heart to those who provide services to you is a sure way to spread cheer and make others feel good. It also lets them know that you appreciate what they do for you. Show your mail carrier, garbage man, house cleaner, children’s teacher, secretaries, and other service providers how much you value them.

Organize or contribute in a fundraiser or food drive with friends.

Want to make a real difference this holiday season? With a bit of effort and some reliable friends, you can organize or contribute with a fundraiser or food drive. This is a great way to help the less fortunate in your community, and it will surely make you and others feel good.

Volunteer your time and energy.

For a special gift, give a little of yourself. Helping others is a great way to spread cheer and love. Take time out of your busy holiday schedule to volunteer at a nursing home, orphanage, women's shelter, or homeless shelter. Smiles are contagious - and you can spread them around.

Sing Christmas carols.

If you celebrate Christmas, nothing says "holiday season" like Christmas carols. Spread some cheer this holiday by playing Christmas carols in your home for family and guests. As Christmas Day approaches, take family and friends caroling to help spread the holiday spirit. Don't know the lyrics to your favorite carols? No worries - find your favorite songs here

Monday, November 25, 2013


Gratitude is one of the trickiest concepts to teach  -- but one of the most important. Although thankful children are more polite and pleasant to be around, there's more to it than that. By learning gratitude, children become sensitive to the feelings of others, develop empathy and other life skills along the way. Grateful children look outside their one-person universe and understand that their parents and other people do things for them – such as preparing dinner, dole out hugs, teach, care for them, buy toys, etc. On the flip side, children who aren't taught to be grateful end up feeling entitled and perpetually disappointed. L
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to teach children about being thankful. Here are some ideas to teach your children how to appreciate the blessings in their lives and how to express it. Try these ideas and see if they work for you. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results! 
Set the Example. Parents have to model the behavior they hope their children adopt as their own. A simple, sincere expression of gratitude when your child does something they were asked to do is always appropriate. Taking an extra moment to thank a sales clerk at the store or to tip your help at home when bringing something to you lets them know that gratitude is acceptable and encouraged. Children model their parents in every way, so make sure you use "please" and "thank you" when you talk to them. ("Thanks for that hug -- it made me feel great!")
Work gratitude into your daily conversation.  When you reinforce an idea frequently, it's more likely to stick. Two old-fashioned, true ideas: Make saying what good things happened today part of the dinnertime conversation, or make bedtime prayers part of your nightly routine if this is an important part of your personal belief.
Make a List. From time to time, take some time as a family to list the things you are grateful for. Children might say things like a favorite toy or food, but sometimes they will express thanks for a family where they feel safe or for a dad's income that let's them have a few luxuries.
Don't Demand Thanks.  Avoid demanding thanks from your children. They will internalize example much more than they will threats or humiliation. If you offer it sincerely to them, they will learn the skills of gratitude.
Teach Through Role Playing. If you notice a lack of the gratitude attitude, consider a little role playing. Have children act out a scenario where someone went out of their way for someone else, and have the receiver express gratitude. You might even consider a negative example and see how the giver feels when his or her giving is ignored.
Establish Family Traditions. Give a "speech" before every holiday dinner, talk about the blessings you have in your family (even if it's not Thanksgiving). By having family rituals that center on gratitude, children learn to express thanks.
Have kids help. It happens to everyone: You give your child a chore, but it's too agonizing watching him a) take forever to do it or b) make a huge mess. The temptation is always to step in and do it yourself. But the more you do for them, the less they appreciate your efforts. By participating in simple household chores like feeding the dog or stacking dirty dishes on the counter, kids realize that all these things take effort.
Find a goodwill project. That doesn't mean you need to drag your toddler off to a soup kitchen or shelter every week. Instead, figure out some way he/she can actively participate in helping someone else, even if it's as simple as making cupcakes for a sick neighbor. As you're stirring the batter or adding sprinkles, talk about how you're making them for a special person, and how happy the recipient will be.

Encourage generosity. Donate toys and clothes to less fortunate kids! Giving to others inspires children to go through their own closets and give something special to those in need, as well.

Insist on thank-you notes. Parents sometimes make their children write thank-yous or make phone calls to thank for gifts or kind gestures. This teaches children not to take things for granted.  .

Practice saying no. Of course kids ask for toys, video games, and candy -- sometimes on an hourly basis. It's difficult, if not impossible, to feel grateful when your every whim is granted. Saying “no” sometimes makes hearing “yes”  much sweeter.

Be patient. You can't expect gratitude to develop overnight -- it requires weeks, months, even years of reinforcement. But in time, you will be rewarded.


Friday, November 15, 2013


Today’s video games are appealing to our young ones: they are fun, the action is fast, the challenges are inviting. However, when children spend time in front of small screens – whether it’s the TV, computer or hand-held games – it takes away from the time they could spend playing sports, learning other skills or enjoying active play.
When children constantly receive their entertainment through computer games, they develop an increasing desire for instant entertainment which decreases their attention span and hurts their listening skills. Simple common sense dictates that too much time spent playing online games is counter-productive to a child’s healthy growth and development.
If as a parent you are not facing this problem (yet) CONGRATULATIONS! If it is a concern, (or you think it might become one) bear in mind that the goal of a parent should not be to remove the child’s access to these activities, but to help the child find balance between time spent using these devices and time spent in activities of a different nature.
What NOT to do: Many articles discuss strategies to reduce video-gaming time suggest “tiger-mom” measures such as removing the computer from the child’s room, installing access-limiting software, or simply pulling the plug on the computer. These methods are confrontational, and send a message that the child lacks self-control. Cooperation and respect should be the tools of first choice. As parents we should help our children see the consequences of too much time online and help them make the decision for themselves to bring more balance into their lives.
Here are some suggestions to help reduce the amount of time your children spent playing video games.
1. Play a video game with your child  - Let your child teach you one of their favorite video games and give it a try. You may find the game instructive, challenging, or deplorable. In any case, you’re showing your child that you are open-minded and willing to try something new. After all, this is what you’re asking of your child in having them reduce time spent on video games. There’s a better chance your child will listen to your suggestions when you’ve shown a willingness to understand the appeal of these games.
2. Keep a log of time spent on video games for a week - Ask your child to keep a record of time spent on gaming. (Or keep a record yourself.) At the end of one week, show them a visual representation of how much of their free time is going to this activity. Is it 10% of their time, or 50%? It’s likely that your child hasn't considered this, and may be surprised at the results. Once you have some actual data, any argument over the amount of time spent on gaming is eliminated, and you can see if there is a problem, and to what degree.
3. Show your child what that amount of time represents in other activities - With some thought, you can develop a list of activities and opportunities that can be achieved in the same amount of time spent gaming. As a parent, you should be prepared to help the child get started in an activity program, or help buy supplies or equipment for new projects. The goal of this exercise is to show the child what activities he or she may be missing.
4. Arrange active indoor or outdoor activities for your children and thier friends - Help do the thinking and planning for alternative activities for your children. (They may be out of practice.) To make it more appealing, look for ways to include your children’s friends.
5. Start a long term project of your child’s choosing - Your child may have an interest or goal that seems out of reach. If you can tap into something your child is passionate about, you may be able to help them realize their passion. Most children don’t think of long-term projects, but you can show them how planning and budgeting their time and money can bring big rewards. Working on the garden, building something, decorating, are good examples. Of course, as a parent your participation is required to help finance the project and help see it to completion. But a long term project with your child is rewarding to the parent as well!
7. Have family meals together - Playing video games is often a solitary activity. Eating dinner together as a family provides a valuable opportunity for communication. A scheduled meal together helps lift children from the isolated bubble of their game consoles and engage the other members of the family in the exchange of ideas. Family dinners should be a place for open discussion, where the children can discuss their gaming accomplishments, should they choose, and where they can also hear the interests of all family members. Dinnertime is also an opportunity for family members to discuss a variety of interests outside of the video-game arena and plan upcoming activities.
Encouraging your child to spend less time playing video games requires more hands-on time from the parents. This is not always easy, given the busy schedules of parents today. But the rewards are rich as we see our children grow, and as we spend more time with them.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Midterm reports for the second quarter are just around the corner at Discovery School! We all want our children to experience success in school. Children in Elementary School may sometimes experience frustration (and sometimes even failure). It's not because they lack ability, but because they do not have adequate study skills. Good study habits are important for success in school now and especially in the future. Listed below are a few things parents need to consider in order to assist a child in developing the right study skills.

Ø      Be a good role model. If you sometimes bring work home with you or you're taking a course yourself, your child will learn your habits.
Ø      Help your child organize things. For example, the protractor and compass belong in the math binder, sheet music in the violin case.
Ø      Help him or her organize space. The kitchen table is for eating; your child's desk is for studying.
Ø      Help your child organize time. Establish a routine for completing schoolwork. It doesn't have to be the minute your child walks in the door; just agree on a set time and stick to it.
Ø      Minimize distractions. Learning and practicing skills are not better retained when learned concurrently with loud music, TV shows and a telephone receiver at one ear.
Ø      Check your child's work. Every night is unnecessary (unless there is a particular need for it), but check it often enough that he or she knows you might - and that you care.
Ø      Insist that sloppy or careless work be redone, but don't correct errors; teachers need to know what students don't know.
Ø      Give praise whenever possible and appropriate. A sincere expression of pride in your child's academic accomplishments can go a long way toward making studying a habit.

Tips & Warnings

·                 Don't wait until report card time or progress reports to address concerns about your child's study habits. If you believe he or she needs help, offer it now. Contact the teacher and discuss the possibilities.
·                 See what the school offers in the way of study skills training.
Offering our children opportunities for success will enable them to become happy and productive students!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cold and flu season is inevitable, and it seems this year it has started off with a bang! And with the weather being so crazy and changing all the time, it is almost inevitable for children to get sick. However, you can work to prevent germs from overtaking your house this year with these 5 simple steps. 

Get vaccinated. - While not all parents are in favor of the flu shot, there has been success in the past with this preventative measure.  Consult with your family doctor about the available options.
Teach and practice effective hand washing techniques. - It's no secret that washing your hands can help keep the germs at bay. However, if you've ever watched your children "wash" their hands, you may quickly realize why this is not working. A quick rinse isn't going to keep germs away during cold and flu season. Teach your children to wash their hands effectively. Warm water, plenty of time (the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" is a good guideline), and soap on both sides of your hands as well as between your fingers. You may also want to provide a small sanitizer bottle for your children to use at school frequently.
Focus on a healthy diet. - Keep an eye on your child’s diet during cold and flu season. It is still not clear whether or not vitamin C can really help you fight off a cold, however there's no reason that you shouldn't give it a try. Have orange slices for an after school snack, instead of fruit snacks. Consider increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in your child's diet, too. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day. See that they have a hearty breakfast before coming to school – students do not function well on an empty stomach.
Avoid those that are ill (and stay home when you're sick, too). - Keep your children home when they are ill. This prevents the spread of colds and flu.  Use the rule of thumb for a child to be free of fever for 24 hours before you send them back to school.  They should be with out a fever on their own. Don’t keep their fever down with medicines and then assume the’re better.

Stop sharing – While encouraging  children to share their toys and games with others is a good practice,  cold and flu season is a good excuse to be a little selfish with your belongings. If toys are in fact shared, be sure to clean items thoroughly. Avoid sharing things that will get/have been put in someone's mouth (which happens often with babies and toddlers.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Discovery School Families,

Now that student-led conferences are finished and you have your child’s MAP results, we would like to share some information and links with you in order for you  to support your child in his/her areas of need.
For more information about the overall Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) process:

The following NWEA Parent Toolkit was created as a resource and guide for parents. It includes Frequently Asked Questions, Tips for Parents, and a list of web sites for parents and kids:

We’d also like to provide you with 2 excellent resources for at-home practice. For each, you’ll need to look at your child’s Student Goal Setting Worksheet, which was shared with you at conferences.

For reading, look at your child’s RIT range by goal strand for Fall 2012. Use these numbers to select appropriate activities under each goal area. This website is aligned to Minnesota standards, so there are some discrepancies in the categorizing. Our suggestion for finding comprehension activities is to use the overall RIT score for reading.
            Website Wording                                                        MAP Wording
            Word Recognition, Analysis, and Vocabulary             Word Analysis and Vocabulary
Comprehension: Narrative                                          Literal, Interpretive, and Evaluative Comprehension
Comprehension: Informational                                   Literal, Interpretive, and Evaluative Comprehension
            Literature                                                                    Literature Response/Analysis
Here is the reading website:

For math, look at your child’s RIT range by goal strand for Fall 2012. Use these numbers to select appropriate activities under each goal area. For example, if your child’s RIT range for Geometry is 175-190, you would go to the click on the 171-180 and 181-190 links under Geometry and Measurement in order for find activities at your child’s level. Since Geometry and Measurement are grouped together, you would be looking for geometry skills, such as shapes.
            Website Wording                                            MAP Wording
            Number and Operation                                   Computation and Number Sense
            Geometry and Measurement                          Geometry and Measurement 
Data Analysis                                                  Statistics and Probability
            Algebra                                                            Algebraic Concepts
Here is the math website:

We know that parent support and at-home practice are essential for student success. We hope you find these resources useful. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


In order to help your child have a successful school year, you need to know what is expected of him/her, academically, from now until June. Parent-teacher conferences at Discovery School will be held this Friday, October 25. These conferences present an excellent opportunity to find out how your child is adjusting to the new school year and to get to know his/her teachers, and what the expectations are for the school year.

What should you expect?

Ø      A two-way conversation. Like all good conversations, parent–teacher conferences are best when both people talk and listen. The conference is a time for you to learn about your child’s progress in school: Ask to see data about your child’s attendance, grades, and test scores. Find out whether your child is meeting school expectations and academic standards. This is also a time for the teacher to learn about what your child is like at home. When you tell the teacher about your child’s skills, interests, needs, and dreams, the teacher can help your child more.

Ø      Emphasis on learning. Good parent–teacher conferences focus on how well the child is doing in school. They also talk about how the child can do even better. To get ready for the conversation, look at your child’s homework, tests, and notices before the conference. Be sure to bring a list of questions that you would like to ask the teacher.

Ø      Opportunities and challenges. Just like you, teachers want your child to succeed. You will probably hear positive feedback about your child’s progress and areas for improvement. Be prepared by thinking about your child’s strengths and challenges beforehand. Be ready to ask questions about ways you and the teacher can help your child with some of his or her challenges.

What should you talk to the teacher about?

  • Progress. Find out how your child is doing by asking questions like: Is my child performing at grade level? How is he or she doing compared to the rest of the class? What do you see as his or her strengths? How could he or she improve?
  • Assignments and assessments. Ask to see examples of your child’s work. Ask how the teacher gives grades.
  • Your thoughts about your child. Be sure to share your thoughts and feelings about your child. Tell the teacher what you think your child is good at. Explain what he or she needs more help with.
  • Support learning at home. Ask what you can do at home to help your child learn. Ask if the teacher knows of other programs or services in the community that could also help your child.
  • Support learning at school. Find out what services are available at the school to help your child. Ask how the teacher will both challenge your child and support your child when he or she needs it.

How should you follow up?
  1. Make a plan. Write down the things that you and the teacher will each do to support your child. You can do this during the conference or after. Write down what you will do, when, and how often. Make plans to check in with the teacher in the coming months.
  2. Schedule another time to talk. Communication should go both ways. Ask how you can contact the teacher. And don’t forget to ask how the teacher will contact you too. There are many ways to communicate—in person, by phone, notes, email. Make a plan that works for both of you. Be sure to schedule at least one more time to talk in the next few months.
  3. Talk to your child. The parent–teacher conference is all about your child, so don’t forget to include him or her. Share with your child what you learned. Show him or her how you will help with learning at home. Ask for his or her suggestions.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Extra Help in School?

We all want our child(ren) to be successful and happy at school. The key to knowing if your child has a problem in school is to be an involved parent. Let your child know you are there for him/her and that you will do anything you can to help. If you suspect a problem and the answer isn't forthcoming from your child, don't hesitate to contact his/her teacher. Ask questions until you get answers.

Be an involved parent 

How do you know if your child is having trouble in school? Look for changes in her behavior and attitude. If her grades suddenly drop or if he/she seems to be struggling with a subject or subjects, talk to him/her and contact his/her teacher. If you suspect a problem, don't wait for a report card to come home.
Monitor homework and graded work that comes home. Talk to your child about the good and troubling things you see. Offer praise for good grades or improved work, but let him/her know you notice a slide in work quality or if he/she seems to be struggling with a subject. This is also a good time to talk to the teacher and find out when tests are coming up and when they will be returned. Do this either by calling or maintaining e-mail contact with your child's teacher.
Unfinished work also may be a sign your child is struggling. Children having a tough time with the assigned work may just give up out of frustration. If you notice this, make sure you are there to help with homework or perhaps find a tutor who can help. Do not do the work for your child, just offer enough help so that he/she understands the subject matter and the assignment.
MAP test scores can also give you an indication of whether or not your child has a problem in school. Look at your child's results. If you see a problem talk to the teacher about what needs to be done to make improvements. 

Partner with the teacher

Don't hesitate to talk to your child and to his teacher. Teachers appreciate involved parents, but don't go into discussions with the teacher in attack mode. Focus on helping your child with his/her struggles and coming up with a plan. Avoid going to the area administrator before talking to his teacher. Following the correct channels of communication is a great way to foster an effective relationship.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


As parents and teachers, it is our job to train our children to grow to be successful adults. Productive routines are at the core of independence and responsibility. Children crave routines and thrive and benefit from them. Mornings are no exception, and mornings works best when there is a routine in place. Most children do fine as long as everything goes as planned in the mornings.

As an adult you can probably get out of the house in 10 minutes flat. In 10 minutes you can brush your teeth, shower, get dressed, and grab a quick breakfast. Add children in to the mix and there is no way you can get out of the house in 10 minutes. Your child may be one who constantly needs to go back to his/her bedroom to get one last thing, leading to a delay. Another child may need constant reminders to brush hair, teeth, and get ready. On the other hand, some children are early risers. The earlier he/she gets up the more compliant he/she can be. The important thing is to develop a routine that works for you at your home, and allows for a smooth beginning to the school day. Here are some things you may want to consider:

1. Wake Up Time - If you've got more than one kid in the house, and especially if you have a large family, consider staggering wake up times for greater efficiency. Start with kids who need assistance first, or the ones who are real sleepyheads who move slowly in the morning. Does a parent really have to wake kids up anyway? Except for youngsters, kids can learn to awaken by an alarm clock and get themselves up without mom or dad hovering and yelling, "Are you up yet?" Let them decide what is the best time for the alarm to go off and get ready on time. If this means he/she doesn't get her hair braided or one doesn't get second helpings on cereal, encourage them to set their alarm 15 minutes earlier tomorrow. Cause and's a good lesson to learn!

2. Getting Dressed - Clothing, down to clean socks, underwear and shoes, and even matching hair accessories should be laid out each night before bed. Youngsters can play a role in choosing the outfit, but no changes are allowed once their head hits the pillow. And, then stick with it! The only exceptions should be an unknown tear or stain, or surprise change in the weather. This avoids missing socks, unmatched shirt and shoes, and keeps getting dressed a simple step in beginning the day vs. a looming battle.

3. Breakfast - Breakfast is important--some experts argue that it is the most important meal of the day, so your kids need a nutritious start each morning. However, that start shouldn't put parents in a work bind or make kids late for school. Whether you have a weekly menu, or adhere to cereal and fruit, it is important to have a plan for what breakfast will be. Find something that works for your household and that your child(ren) likes.

4. Making Lunch - The night before, unpack the lunch boxes, clean out wrappers, and refreeze ice packs. If you have more than one lunchbox to pack,  pack the same lunch. You know your child the best, so you know what your child likes to eat.  Pack snacks and lunches that are acceptable. Lunch works best if all items that I need are in a convenient location. Ask your child what he/she likes to eat at school.

5. Backpacks, Shoes, Coats, Lunchboxes - Have the children pack their backpacks the night before to make sure homework is in the folder with notes to the teacher and permission slips.  Place lunchboxes, musical instruments, coats and any other object that needs to go to school the next day next to the backpacks.

6. Leaving on Time - When considering when to leave your house to be ready for the school bus or to drive to school, consider the following:
·        time it takes to buckle child in car seat (if you have an infant or a toddler factor in the time it will take to get all your children in your car or van)
·        time it takes to get coat, shoes, gloves on for all children
·        time it takes to find the child’s school bag, lunch box, coat, shoes, spare supplies
·        time it takes to drive to school/walk to bus stop
·        extra time you may need if traffic is an issue in your area

Basically, leave yourself plenty of time. Children do not know the words “hurry up” or “let’s go.” Even if you are not the most organized person, you do realize that children need to live in an organized home. Stressed out parents = stressed out kids. “Plan” and “organize” are a happy parent’s favorite words.

Remember, it is never too late to establish routines. Look at what has worked so far, what is not working, and what will work in the future. Develop a plan with your children and then realize that you are responsible for training them step by step. If you use patience and understanding, your children will gladly participate in finding what works. Nobody likes a chaotic, hurried experience. After thirty days of intense training, your kids will relax into the pattern and the set routine. This will help them have a great day at school.