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back to school

Back to School, Homeschol and Distance Learning Organization Guide

It’s the start of a new school year in my home and I’m determined to make sure we have a smooth, clutter-free and positive school year.

As an avid believer in  and the positive impact of having a decluttered and organized home, I believe having an organization system and clutter and junk free home are essential for ensuring positive energy flow and clear thought.

I highly recommend that parents use the beginning of a school year as another excuse to get organized, not just for the school routine, but the family home in general.  So even if you did Spring or New Year cleaning, use the late summer/early fall to re-organize your life and priorities as well.

Even if your kids have already gone back, you can still get started. Here are some declutter and home organization tips that I’ve put together that I hope can help get you through the year.

Clean and DeClutter

Clean and Declutter the Kids Play, Work Rooms and Nursery.  Limit the number of toys and books in the kids room. Get rid of old broken toys. Give away old books and toys to the Salvation Army, Good Will or another family member with children younger than yours. Keep only a few of the favorite story books and the toys your child or children play with regularly. Don’t let them know you’re getting rid of the stuff they don’t even play with. They likely won’t even know it and you don’t need the headache of having them plea for you to keep it.

Infuse Calming Scents in the Home.  I’m a also a big believer in aromatheraphy and that scents guide the mood. Buy Glade or some other brand’s plugins to keep the air fresh and clean smelling. You can burn candles when you’re home or if you’re an incense type of person, those work too.  Consider using those with essential oils or scents such as chamomile, rose, vanilla and lavender. They are calming scents.

Thoroughly Clean the Room. Wash and Wipe down the walls, baseboards, windows and floors — with natural cleaners. Repair wall holes, cracks, squeaky windows, peeling paint. A clean home is great for fostering clear thoughts and just clarity, in general.

Set up Calendar and Chore Lists. Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you shouldn’t be doing all of the cleaning and upkeep. Set up a chore sheet for the refrigerator for after school chores. Also, start a new family calendar for keeping up with back to school nights, upcoming field trips, sports activities and other events so everyone knows what’s going on. If you’re the family manager as mom, you shouldn’t be the only one aware of what days are soccer practice.  Sitters, your spouse and house guests should too. Also, a chore list is great for keeping up the principles of feng shui which are all about clean spaces.

Keep Toys Dedicated to ONE area of the home (or maybe two) Avoid the chaotic mind that comes when you have toys and other things sprinkled in every nook and cranny of the home. Toys should be kept only to the play room, the kids room or one area of the apartment that is quartered off and situated with a toy chest, storage bin or some place where you can quickly toss all the toys hanging out all over the house. The tough part may be to stick to this one simple rule.

When the kids are not playing with a toy, there is really no need for it to be taking up space on the kitchen table or creating a tripping hazard for you or a guest. Either you, your partner or trained kids if they are old enough should make a concerted effort to gather all errant toys and keep them in the designated area.

It seems pretty intuitive, huh?

Over time, it will become a habit or second nature and you will find toys are not strewn about as much anymore. I do this with other areas of my home and life.  All papers, books, newspapers, invoices, magazines are usually put away in our home office.  All clothes go in a hamper, closet or bedroom.  Dishes, cups and silverware discovered anywhere in the house are picked up and taken in the kitchen

Think of this mantra:  “There is a place for Everything and Everything in its place.”

Organize the Paper Trails. Each year, families accumulate reports, information from school, permission slips and the such. It will get mixed in with bills, receipts, warranties and other paper that come into your life.

This Home Organization plan will make it easy for you:  Get a binder or two and dividers or one of those mega accordion file folders with tabs and divide them in the following categories:

School Category

  • Car maintenance schedule/Receipts
  • School schedules and holiday list
  • Lunch menus
  • School information page
  • School reading lists
  • Summer Camp and programs information
  • Medical information sheet for each family member
  • Emergency directory
  • House-sitter information sheet
  • PTA newsletters and rosters

Health Categories

  • Prescription drug record
  • Health insurance information

Home Vacation

  • Travel packing checklist
  • Before-we-leave checklist
  • Vacation idea list

Home Renovation

  • Home renovation contractor lists
  • Contracts and Bids
  • Warranty information
  • Utilities/services directory
  • Home decorating ideas

Home Business

  • Business records
  • Tax Documents for Business
  • Consultants and Independent Contractor records
  • Liability Insurance
  • Business & Office Equipment registry


  • Tax Documents for Personal
  • Big Ticket Items receipts
  • Life insurance information
  • Budget/spending record
  • Bills to pay

Hope these Declutter and Home Organization Tips are helpful to you as you get yourself and your family organized for the season! Good luck!


Back to SchooL: Free School Haircuts, Supplies and Immunizations Guide

Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

With the economy on the downturn slightly, some families may be feeling the pinch and purchasing school supplies, getting immunizations and paying for haircuts and style could be a bit much for the budget.

Luckily, a lot of barber shops, religious, community and civic groups have organized events where they help parents out.

We’re already deep into back-to-school season and several of these have passed but I managed to dig up a few more in my area, DC, Maryland and Virginia and a few others. Do a Facebook, Google Events or Eventbrite search for one near you.

Here are the ones I found. Good luck!

District of Columbia

Washington, DC

What:  Back to school physical exam, Birth Control options for college students, STI discussion and primary care needs for medicaid /private pay

Date: Thru Aug 31, 2 PM

Where: 1331 H Street Associates, 1331 H St NW, Washington, DC

More deets/sign up: Eventbrite



What: Free Backpack & Haircuts School Supply Giveaway

Date/time: September 2nd, 8:00am to 12:00pm

Where: Paul’s Beauty Warehouse, 1821 Whitehead Road, Baltimore, MD, 21207

More deets/sign up: 92.Q Website


What: Back to School – Free Backpacks; Come to a free back-to-school event, get free school supplies and sign up for tutoring and other academic support.

Date: Sat, August 31 10 AM – 2 PM

Where: Bowie Church of Christ, 2518 Kenhill Dr, Bowie, MD

More deets/Sign Up: Eventbrite.com 


What: The Queen Anne’s County Department of Health will be hosting Back to School (BTS) Immunization clinics beginning in late August. If your child cannot get the vaccines from their healthcare

Date: Tue, Sep 3, 8 AM – 12

Where: Queen Anne’s County Department of Health 206 N Commerce St, Centreville, MD

More deets/signup: Facebook Event Details

Charles County

Where: The Charles County Department of Health provides immunizations through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program to eligible children living in Charles County. Our goal is to educate and assist caregivers with making decisions that will protect them, their children, and the community. We offer back-to-school, childhood, and preteen and adolescent vaccines.

Eligibility Requirements

A child is eligible for the VFC Program if he or she is younger than 19 years of age and is one of the following:

  • Uninsured
  • Covered by Medical Assistance
  • Underinsured (has health insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines)
  • American Indian or Alaska Native


Tuesday, August 27, 20191:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Tuesday, September 10, 20191:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Tuesday, September 17, 20191:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Tuesday, September 24, 20191:00 PM – 6:00 PM

More deets/signup: Child Health/Child Immunizations


What: Free Back to School Vaccination Clinic

When: Tue, Sep 3 – Thu, Sep 5

Where: Howard County Health Department, 8930 Stanford Blvd, Columbia, MD

Deets: From Facebook.com: The following vaccines will be available..

Prince Federick

What: Free Back to School Immunization Clinic

When: Wed Sep 18 2019 at 09:00 am

Where: Calvert County Health Department, 975 Solomons Island Rd N, Prince Frederick, Maryland 20678,

Temple Hills:

What: FREE Back to School haircuts and hairstyles is BACK! Now taking appointments for Sunday, Sept 1st ONLY.

When: Sun, Sep 1, 10 AM – 2 PM

Where: Vision Impact Center

4544 Beech Rd, Temple Hills, MD

Deets/Please register at http://vicback2school.rsvpify.com. *Serious inquiries and appointments only.


What: 2019 Bookbag Giveaway & Back-to-School EXPO

When: Sun, Sep 1, 11 AM – 4 PM

Where: 6630 Limekiln Pike, Philadelphia, PA 19138

Deets: reachphiladelphia.org



What: Committed to creating a community of healthy children, Texas Children’s Mobile Clinic Program will administer the vaccinations to children, 6 weeks to 18 years of age, who need immunizations.

  • Children must qualify for the Vaccines for Children program (no insurance, have insurance that does not cover vaccines, or have Medicaid)
  • No pre-registration is required but space is limited.
  • Parents and guardians must bring child’s immunization records and must accompany child. 

When: every Thursday in August 2019., From 5 to 7 p.m.

Where: Children’s Museum of Houston 

Deets:  Texas Children’s Mobile Clinic Program


Newport News

What: Free haircuts & open to the public.

When: Friday, August 30, 2019 from 11am-3pm

Where: Doris Miller Community Center, 2400 Washington Ave., Newport News, VA 23607 

Deets: call 757-247-8603 for hair appointments. 


What: Better Barbers Back To School Bash!  GRADES K-12 Come out and join us at our first annual Back To School Bash! We will be providing *free haircuts, LOTS of school supplies, food, drinks, snacks, games and prizes for the children! Come out and celebrate the beginning of new and successful school year. School supplies will be distributed on a first come first-served basis. We currently have 121 bags to give away and the child must be present to receive a bag. If you’re vegan don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We are looking forward to seeing everyone

When: Friday, August 30, 2019 from 2-5pm

Where: Better Barbers Tidewater Dr 7468 Tidewater Dr unit B, Norfolk, Virginia 23505 

Deets: Facebook Event Better Barbers Back To School Bash!

What:Village Family and Partners Back2School Expo, This is an annual community effort to help youth and families prepare for the school year that is right around the corner. Come and join us in this fun event for children of all ages.FREE backpacks & school supplies. MUSIC BY DJ NAKYLLA

When: Saturday, September 7, 2019 from 1-5pm

Where: Military Circle Mall, 880 N. Military Circle Mall, Norfolk Virginia 23502

Deets: Facebook Event

Virginia Beach

What: Haircuts & Book Bags – Back to School Bash 

When: Saturday, August 31, 2019 from 12-2pm

Where: 2180 McComas Way Ste 113, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456

Deets: Facebook Events


What: Mobi Wash Cares: Back2School Bookbag Giveaway,  Come and enjoy food, fun, games, prizes, and FREE BOOKBAGS. Your kids will leave happy, tired, and, most importantly, PREPARED for school!

When: Saturday, August 31, 2019 from 10am-2pm

Where:  Gray’s Missionary Baptist 380 Union St, Hampton, Virginia 23669 

Deets: Facebook Events

What: Free Backpacks and school supplies

When: Saturday, August 31, 2019 from 12-2pm

Where: We Serve The City 2180 McComas Way Ste 113, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456

5 Ways To Get Your Stuff Together For Back-to-School

tiles back to school on yellow notebook

Summer is flying by and pretty soon school will be back in session. Is your child ready to get back into the daily scholastic routine?  Mine are…kinda…barely…not really! ha!

The folks at Brainly — the world’s largest peer-to-peer learning community of students, parents, and teachers— asked 600 American parents whether they feel their children are ready to jump back into the daily grind of school. Nationwide 56% of parents say they think they’re children are prepared to go back to school.

Missouri parents led the pack with 85% saying that they thought their kids were ready to head back to school. Virginia followed with 80% saying the same and the top three was rounded out by Arizona at 69%. 

Brainly has put together a list of 5 tips for parents to help their children prepare to head back to school. 


Getting up early for school can be jarring for middle and high school students who have been used to sleeping in all summer. 62% of parents said they are worried their kids will have a hard time adjusting their snooze schedules during their first week back to school.

Brainly’s tip? Start a routine a few weeks before term begins so that your kids can get used to their new schedule. 


In a similar vein, students should get used to the hours of work (and homework) they will be expected to do during the school year. 92% of parents said homework is the biggest school-related stressor for their families. 

Brainly recommends developing a routine to help them manage their time and setting up a dedicated homework space so they aren’t caught flat footed in September. 


School-aged kids can revert by nearly a month’s worth of instruction over the summer. In fact, 82% of American parents believe their kiddos experienced at least a mild to moderate amount of summer learning loss.

The best way to circumvent this issue is to keep their skillsets fresh and mind’s sharp over the summer. Consider doing this through platforms like Brainly where a community of students can help other students and users earn points for answering questions. 


This may seem obvious but students gonna need pens, pencils, and a handy dandy new Trapper Keeper (kids still use those right?) if they’re going to succeed this semester.

Pro tip: get those things early while they are on sale. 


Nothing adds heaps of unneeded stress to and an already stressful time than not being organized. Only 22% of U.S. parents said they currently feel organized for the start of the new school year, and a mere 10% of parents said they remain organized throughout the entire school year.

Brainly advises creating a plan for before and after school for your kids and yourself and sticking to it. Routines are important for everyone. 

#BackToSchool Trend: ‘Mom’s First Day of Freedom’ Instagram Take Over

After a Summer of an empty refrigerator, a 24-hour messy house, being responsible for keeping the kids entertained, engaged or active, a lot of moms (and dads) look forward to sending their kids back to school. It’s a running joke among many parents to rejoice and joke about their glee over sending their children back to school.

I always poke fun at my Millennial mom friends and followers over the very creative ways they use social media to show off their milestones, extravagant themed kid’s first birthday or chic and stylish coordinated holiday cards and videos.

Add to that the relatively new trend of sharing the “Mom’s First Day of Freedom” on Instagram. Some moms go as far as hire professional photographers and coordinating a photo shoot to mark the occasion.

Some Etsy shops sell “Mom’s First Day of Freedom” Boards like the ones below:



View this post on Instagram

#momsfirstdayoffreedom #fireballthruastraw

A post shared by Whitney Hammonds (@whittykay30) on


What do you think? Would you get something like this and share on social media? Do you think it is mean-spirited or just a joke?


5 Back to School Tips for School/Life Balance

As many children go back to school this month, several struggle in class, lose assignment sheets and notes, miss assignments and  forget to bring home books needed to complete homework if he or she is not organized.  There are tremendous benefits to teaching children executive functioning skills. These are the type of skills top or mid level execs use to succeed in work but certainly can apply to kids as well.

Organization and focus are key qualities for many successful adults, but these skills do not come naturally to grown ups, imagine if you were taught it at a young age and grew with those skills.

Here are 5 tips to assist all parents and children:

  1. Stash and trash– Prevent mountains of papers from accumulating by learning what to keep and what to toss. This is a very important skill, even for the most organized adults! Teach children at a young age what types of documents to keep and throw away as well as how to best organize the materials they are keeping. Your future storage bins will thank you! 
  1. Balancing work and fun – It is important to teach children that there is a time for work and a time for play, and that they are both important for a well-balanced life! Make time for studying, after school activities and dinner with the family.
  1. Manage the day – Parents have planners, and so should children! Teach your child to use a day planner or calendar, where they can record their school work, after-school activities, social events and family time.  Whether it is paper or digital, it doesn’t matter. The point is that the child learns to manage their time and sets realistic expectations for each day.
  1. Organize assignments –Parents can help their children stay organized with color-coded folders and a desk-top storage system for their school work.  Children also really enjoy label makers. Divide the folders and storage containers by subject, and teach children how to label accordingly.
  1. Lightening the backpack without losing the work – We’ve all witnessed the tiny child with the gigantic backpack that weighs nearly as much as they do, as well as the extreme opposite of the student who shows up to class without a pen or paper. Teaching children to carry what is important for the day will help them be better prepared for class. Go over the day’s activities the night before, make a list of what classes and activities the child has and pack accordingly.

This solid advice should help parents have a basis and foundation for passing on these critical skills to their children.


The Cost-Saving School Supplies Shopping Tips Mega Families Use

The family-owned Atlanta-based wholesale t-shirt company, The Adair Group has a very comprehensive post with cost-cutting back-to-school savings advice that those very large families, like the Duggars, with over 8 children use. They were so kind to let me syndicate a snippet of their post where they talk about school supply shopping. In light of the recent gun battle at a Michigan Walmart recently, it may behoove you to check out these awesome tips:

Today, even public schools require you to purchase many items that in the past were provided.

Pens and pencils, rulers, calculators, and textbooks—children need all sorts of supplies before heading back to school. Organizing this can be a fun task for some families, and a way to start preparing and anticipating that first day back at school.

Renee from the Little Earthling Blog, another mega family favorite resource, suggests the following tips and tricks that she uses when dealing with her family of 14.

  • Make a list of what each child needs and stick to it. That way you will not forget any essentials, and your children are unable to sneak extras into the cart.
  • Shop at home first. Go through your children’s rooms, through the office and through every other space where there might be pens or pads of paper. Everything you find is one less thing to buy.
  • Try dollar stores for the small items like pens and pencils. These stores can be a cheap and easy way to get most of the basics your children will need.
  • school supplies wooden background
    Take notice of back-to-school sales and shop at a variety of different stores, making sure to buy everything you need at the cheapest price you can manage.
  • Buy more specific items first, for example, a model of calculator or a new backpack. Generic supplies typically drop in price late in the season, so plan to buy paper, pencils, etc. then.
  • A tip that might not be possible is to leave the children at home. The last thing you need is for your children to follow you around and try to influence your choices.

Some more tips mega families use that might help you cost cut at this time of the year are:

  • Use a price comparison app such as Dealnews. Many retailers will honor competitors’ coupons too.
  • Buy enough school supplies for the year when they go on sale in the late summer. If you find you have too many, they will always last for another year, or you can share them with friends who are in the same situation as you.
  • Buy in bulk from wholesale stores and split the cost with friends, and skip the office supply stores.
  • Shop online for used textbooks. In some cases, it may be less costly to rent textbooks instead of buying them. Consider electronic copies, as these are often cheaper.
  • You can also rent calculators. Some schools have rental programs, but if yours doesn’t, try graphtor.com, which rents various models of Texas Instruments calculators for a low monthly fee.
  • Buy refurbished electronics especially for younger children who are prone to dropping them.
  • Some stores provide discounts on electronics for college and high school students. Check out the Apple Education Pricing page or Best Buy’s College Student Deals.
  • If you are looking for activities to entertain the children this summer, have them make their own school supplies. Get directions on craftchi.com on how to create a pencil case out of a mailing tube.

Get a ton of back to school tips from The Adair Group HERE!

Back to School: We Think Gymboree Makes The Cutest Top Quality Clothes for Kids

Gymboree Kids Clothing Newborn to Size 12

Because it is back to school season and parents are on the hunt for deals and top quality clothing for their school-aged children returning to school after the Summer Break, we are sharing some of the cool and super cute clothing that our affiliate partners at various children’s clothiers and brands are offering for sale this season.

We are starting with Gymboree.

This is a personal fave brand of the blog because we know from first hand experience that the quality of the clothing is superior. They last in the wash and the colors do not fade. The brand is known for selling very well coordinated pieces with whimsical characters or in solids, neutrals and other long-lasting hues. The clothing is made of natural materials mostly, and they look really cute.

Gymboree sells from baby to tween. Click to be taken to the site on any of these below featured images:

Back to School Tax-Free Weekends: List of States That Offer Them

It’s back to school shopping time and today, I’m heading to my local office supply and big box stores to gather the things my children need for back to school. This entire week, in my state is Tax-Free week!

It’s part of a growing initiative among US state governments to give a break to parents and care-givers who have kids heading back to school by alleviating the sales tax burden on items parents purchase as their kids head off to school. Maryland allows tax-free sales on supplies, clothes and shoes.

It’s a boon for brick-and-mortar retailers and outlet malls which see sales spike during this time of year and that is the purpose. The folks at TheSpruce.com put in the heavy lifting to identify all the states in the Union that offer Tax-Free weekends or weeks, including some that have past already but for your edification for next year:

States Offering a Tax-Free Weekend (or Week) in 2017

Alabama: Alabama offers two tax-free weekends each year—one for the back-to-school season and the other for severe weather preparedness.

  • Back to School: Begins the third Friday in July and ends the following Sunday (clothing, computers, books and school supplies)
  • Severe Weather Preparedness: Begins Friday of the last full weekend in February and ends the following Sunday (hurricane preparedness supplies and generators)

Arkansas: August 5, 2017 to August 6, 2017 (clothing and school supplies)

 ConnecticutAugust 20, 2017 to August 26, 2017 (clothing and footwear)

Florida: May 28, 2017 to June 5, 2017 (hurricane preparedness equipment and generators); August 4, 2017 to August 6, 2017 (school supplies, clothing and computers)

Georgia: In the past, Georgia offered two tax-free weekends—one for the back-to-school season (usually in July) and the other for energy-efficient appliances later in the year.

 But in 2017, the state legislature didn’t pass the legislation to keep the tax-free weekends as scheduled.

IowaAugust 4, 2017 to August 5, 2017 (clothing)

Louisiana: Lousiana offers three tax-free weekends each year:

  • Severe Weather Preparedness: Saturday, May 27, 2017 to Sunday, May 28, 2017 (hurricane preparedness supplies and generators)
  • Annual Sales Tax Holiday: August 4, 2017 to August 5, 2017 (personal property less than $2500)
  • Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday: September 1, 2017 to September 3, 2017 (firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies)

MarylandFebruary 17, 2017 to February 19, 2017 (energy star products); August 13, 2017 to August 19, 2017 (clothing and footwear)

Mississippi: July 28, 2017 to July 29, 2017 (clothing and footwear)

Missouri: April 19, 2017 to April 26, 2017 (energy star products); August 4, 2017 to August 6, 2017 (clothing, computers and school supplies)

New Mexico: August 4, 2017 to August 6, 2017 (clothing, computers, computer equipment and school supplies)

Ohio: August 4, 2017 to August 6, 2017 (clothing and school supplies)

OklahomaAugust 4, 2017 to August 6, 2017 (clothing)

South Carolina: August 4, 2017 to August 6, 2017 (clothing, school supplies and computers)

Tennessee: July 28, 2017 to July 30, 2017 (clothing, school supplies and computers)

Texas: August 11, 2017 to August 13, 2017 (clothing, backpacks and school supplies)

VirginiaAugust 4, 2017 to August 6, 2017 (clothing, school supplies and energy star products)

If your state does not sponsor a tax-free weekend, consider driving to a nearby state that does. Alternatively, contact your local state representative to request that he or she initiate sales tax holiday legislation for your area.

Get the most out of tax-free weekend by planning your shopping day, including having a list and knowing where you’ll go, buying in bulk, using cash and using price matching at stores that offer it.

Back to School: 8 Tips for Dealing With Separation Anxiety

Bellyitch Rewind
Few things tug at a parent’s heartstrings like the cries and pleas of a child in the throes of a separation anxiety attack; still, they are a normal (if distressing) part of childhood development. With proper coping strategies and plenty of love, the worst of your child’s anxieties can be managed until he’s older, at which point most children tend to outgrow their fears of being separated from a parent or familiar adult.
Managing your child’s separation anxiety and helping her to cope with the necessary but painful routine of parting is a matter of being patient, for the most part. Keeping your composure and maintaining a grip on your patience is absolutely necessary in order for you to successfully employ other management techniques.
  1. Establish a Goodbye Ritual – Sharing a special goodbye ritual with your little one is both comforting and reassuring to her, letting her know that staying at school, daycare, or under the care of a nanny is a new part of her routine. Because structure and repetition are so important to young children, establishing a ritual that accompanies every separation can help normalize that separation, making it less stressful for her over time.
  2. Stay Calm – Kids react to the emotional state of a parent or loved one, so allowing yourself to become overly emotional or anxious in her presence is likely to only exacerbate the anxiety and fear that she’s already feeling. Maintain your composure as best you can, saving the emotional moments for a time when you’re out of her sight.
  3. Don’t Hover or Linger – While it might seem that your hysterical child will never calm down after you leave, childcare providers will almost always reassure you that their emotional state will improve dramatically once you’re gone. Lingering around and hovering over her will only prolong the process, stretching out both her suffering and your own.
  4. Speak with Caregivers and Teachers – Experienced childcare providers and preschool or kindergarten teachers are well-versed in reassuring both hysterical children and their concerned parents, so don’t hesitate to speak with them about how your child is adjusting. When normal separation anxiety is particularly difficult for a child to shake, or persists after a significant adjustment period, these people are your best allies in combating your little one’s fears and helping her learn to cope with separation in a calm, healthy way.
  5. Resist the Temptation to Sneak Away – It can be very tempting to wait until your child is distracted and slip quietly from the room, but this may not be the most productive method of dealing with her separation anxiety. Looking up to find you inexplicably gone, without any sort of a goodbye, can lead to a panic that she’s been abandoned or, at the very least, to feel that she can’t always trust that you’ll be where you should be.
  6. Communicate With Your Child – You can help prepare your child for preschool, kindergarten, or childcare by talking about the upcoming change, practicing separation on a small scale, and answering any questions that she has. These methods can be very effective in preventing the worst of her anxiety before it starts, and maintaining that open line of communication as she adjusts to her new environment and has new experiences is vital.
  7. Be Firm and Consistent – Don’t waver or bring your child home after a particularly bad outburst, as it sends the message that a tantrum will yield the desired result of either leaving daycare or school with you or sending your nanny home, rather than being separated. Focus on maintaining a firm but gentle demeanor, and a strong grip on your resolve.
  8. Know When Separation Anxiety Indicates Something More Serious – While separation anxiety is a very natural, normal part of growing up for many children, there are times when it could indicate something more serious. If a previously happy, well-adjusted child begins to regress and show signs of anxiety again, or if existing anxiety is severe and does not lessen with time, you should contact your pediatrician or medical provider for advice.

Good luck!

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What to Consider Before You Let Your Child Ride the School Bus

The first day of school is a momentous occasion for both parents and their children, but so is the first time that your child rides the school bus alone. For some parents, necessity forces them to put their kids on the bus, as their own professional schedules won’t allow for drop-offs and pick-ups. In other cases, belief that riding the bus builds character or exposes kids to manageable difficulty to give them strength is the motivating factor behind using the school bus as primary transportation. Whatever your reasons, there are a few things you should know before your little one climbs those steps for the first time.

Basic School Bus Safety

In order to teach your child the basic rules of school bus safety, you’ll need to know them yourself. Your child should never run to or from the bus, even if he’s late. He should always stand back from the curb and wait for the bus driver’s signal before crossing the street, and should be at least ten feet in front of the bus for peak driver visibility. While he’s on the bus, your child should never shout, get out of his seat or roughhouse with other kids. If you’re not there to put him on the bus and escort him back at the end of the day, your child will need to know these things in order to handle himself safely.

Expected Times of Arrival

Even if you’re not going to be there to greet the bus at the end of the day or put your little one on it, you should still know the expected time of arrival each way. Arranging a system of notification, especially at the end of the day, will let you know that your older child has reached his stop safely. If you don’t know what time the bus arrives at the stop, you won’t know what time to expect that message.

Adults on the Bus

Some school districts or individual buses have an adult aide, in addition to the bus driver, who works as a monitor, while others rely solely on the attention of the driver. If your child’s bus will not have a monitor, you’ll need to understand that he may be exposed to bullying or other behavior that goes unpunished, as the driver’s attention is focused on the road, rather than the conduct of her young riders.

Rules of Conduct

While there are some basic rules of common sense conduct that hold true on every bus, there may be more specific ones on a particular bus or within your school district that you’re not aware of. You can’t pass those rules along and explain them to your child if you don’t know what they are, so make a point of procuring a copy of the conduct rules from your child’s teacher or school administrators before his first solo ride.

How Behavioral Problems are Handled

Kids on the school bus may not be monitored as heavily as they are in class, which can lead to behavioral problems you’d never consider under other circumstances. Whether your child is the victim or the perpetrator of these infractions, they’re so likely to happen that you’ll need to have a basic grasp of how your school district and bus driver will handle potential behavioral problems.

Age Span of Student Riders

In some districts, it’s feasible to keep younger children separated from the older, more rambunctious bus riders. Smaller areas may not have enough students to warrant more than one bus on a single route, however, and may lump kids of all ages together. This can make for some particularly scary moments for very young children, who can be the target of older bullies. Find out what the average age span is of the riders on your child’s bus, so that you can be prepared for any problems or can make alternate arrangements if you feel uncomfortable with the idea of him being surrounded by junior high students.

Your Child’s Ability to Handle Riding the Bus Alone

Some kids are more mature than others of their age, while some fall a bit behind on the scale of emotional maturity. Before you put your child on the school bus to essentially fend for himself, you need to know where he falls on that scale and how capable he is of handling the potential stressors of riding a school bus. In the end, you’re the only person who will know exactly how prepared your child is, and how well he’s likely to deal with the situation.