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Hicks: How to REALLY get the kids ready for school

By Tony Hicks
Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 at 1:28 pm in Uncategorized.

IT’S THE BEST, most exciting week of the year, when other people paid by the state take our children off our hands all day pretty much for free.

Summer’s great and all, but by late August we could all use some structure. No more kids running around the house screaming like their pants are on fire (which, I swear, only happened once at my house this year), no more running around the yard screaming like their pants are on fire (again, once) and no more going to various family-friendly locations every third day, where children run around screaming like their pants are on fire.

From now on the children get up in the morning, mope around, get ready for school, go to school, bother other adults all day, come home, mope some more, do their homework, go to bed, and generally don’t run around screaming like their pants are on fire.

But getting there from here can be a challenge. I found an article on MSN.com about transitioning kids from summer to school. I read with interest on how the author and supposed parent expert does it, compared to how I do it. To contrast:

* Getting the kids up: The parent expert suggests putting on a CD, maybe something family-friendly from a specific band geared for kids (I don’t care if the band paid the guy from MSN to plug them, I won’t endorse them … unless I see a check). Challenge the kids to have a task done by the end of each song, the expert says.

* Show me a kid who pops out of bed and gets right to doing everything she’s supposed to before school, and I’ll show you a kid who’ll need self-defense training and years of therapy. I prefer the direct approach parents have used for years: Place a large stereo speaker next to their bed, turn up the volume to 9, and play Anthrax’s “Madhouse” until they run screaming into the kitchen to eat breakfast.¬†

  • To get them dressed: The expert says ask your “little ones” how they are feeling today, then help them express it in clothes from a specific designer (I can’t imagine the payoffs this guy gets. I need his job).The real way to approach this is give your child (above age say, 7) one chance to pick out some sensible clothes. If that doesn’t work, tell them they’re going to school in their pajamas. If that still doesn’t work, toss them in the car and drive until they beg to be allowed one more chance.¬†* To get them to eat lunch: Our expert says, to get the kiddies to eat lunch, use a (company’s name blocked) sandwich cutter, to make silly shapes they can’t wait to wolf down. I say get their input so they can’t blame you later, pack their lunch, and swear that if they don’t eat it they’ll die of malnutrition before sundown.
  • To get them to do their homework: Our expert, who’s starting to make me seriously angry, suggests giving them a little lap desk, just like mommy or daddy’s laptop, to encourage them. I say stick them at a sturdy table and don’t let them do anything other than breathe until they finish said homework. It’s pretty simple.
  • To get them clean: Ugh, I can’t believe someone actually spells this out. Next.
  • To get them to sleep: Yes, this is a biggie. Of course, our heroic expert is pimping a specific book to read them at bedtime — which makes no sense unless the letters were printed in ink laced with cough syrup. You know what works? Any book they like, as long as you’re reading to them. And as long as you tell them you’re reading for 15 minutes (or whatever), then read for exactly 15 minutes.
  • ¬†Hopefully all that will tire them out so you can turn around and do it the next day — without anyone screaming like their pants are on fire.
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