Central California Parent Blog

10 Tips to Declutter before Back-to-School

It’s the most wonderful time of the year–time to send the kids back to school and reclaim your household! But after a summer of camps and goofing around inside, your house may need a little tough love to get back into shape for the fall. Research shows that the average American home has 300,000 items in it, and back-to-school is the perfect time to get rid of the ones that you don’t need anymore.
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Prepare for Back-to-School with these 7 tips

1. Start getting back into the routine. Summer is filled with mornings of sleeping in, hanging by the pool and days of soaking up the sun. Kids enjoy the fun of summer and how it gives them the freedom to roam. It is very difficult for kids to pivot on their rhythm so quickly. They do better if eased into a change. Start to assimilate the school routine back into their lives slowly but surely. It will be easier for you all to wake up early when the first day arrives.
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Get Organized!

There is not one specific way to be organized. You do not have to color-code by subject (though, that is one good way to organize). You do not necessarily have to use a planner (though your teacher probably won’t appreciate I said that). And you don’t even have to have a clean room (though, a clean room can be helpful).

The point is in order to be successful at organizing, you have to find a style that works for your child. There isn’t a one size fits all rule. To stay organized, you have to figure out what your child’s style is, and plan accordingly. Continue reading

Turning a MUST Read Into a WANNA Read

“School’s out! No more class, books, homework, and tests! We’re gonna run around barefoot, swim, play video games, and eat Popsicles!” declare happy children heading to summer break.

But it doesn’t take long for parents to burst these happy summer bubbles with the dreaded news:  “Time to get your books from the required summer reading list.” The once-happy children face-palm and sadly shake their heads as they realize that summer break doesn’t include a break from reading. “But we don’t wanna!” Continue reading

Three Ways to Reduce Your High-Achieving, Stressed-Out High Schooler’s Burnout Right Away

Three Ways to Reduce Your High-Achieving, Stressed-Out High Schooler’s Burnout Right Away

By Shirag Shemmassian, Ph.D.

For decades, our high-achieving high schoolers have been encouraged to fill their schedules with as much as possible, including tough classes, tons of extracurricular activities, and summer camps and internships.

I know, for example, a junior at a private Los Angeles high school who is currently taking 4 AP classes, 2 Honors classes, and PE, in addition to being on the varsity basketball team, participating in Model United Nations (UN) and Science Quiz Bowl, studying for the ACT exam, and volunteering at a local homeless shelter. A typical school day for this student begins with a 6:15AM alarm to get to school by 8AM, which lasts until 3PM. After school, this student meets with his Model UN and Quiz Bowl teams from 3:30-5:30PM and has basketball practice from 6-7:15PM. He gets home at 7:30PM, eats and showers, and sits down to begin his homework at 8:30PM. After 4.5 hours of homework, he falls asleep—sometimes at his desk—around 1AM. The only other sleep he gets during the week comes unintentionally, during class time. Continue reading

The Babysitter Bind

It was Saturday afternoon. My wife was at work and I’d been visiting my father. As I drove down our street, I was glad to see all three of our daughters out running around in the sunshine. But 8-year-old Sally looked awfully grim. She wore a backpack and her big sister Marie, almost 12, had her by the arm and was dragging her back toward our house.

That’s because Sally had been running away from home to escape the tyranny of her babysitter – Marie. For 5-year-old Wendy, the running-away action had merely enlivened the afternoon enough for her to turn off the TV and creep blinking out into the daylight.

As a runaway, Sally would have faced a classic dilemma. Hemmed in by several streets that she’s not allowed to cross, there was only a strip of real estate one block wide and a half-mile long in which to hide and begin her new life. But, in our little town she is better-known than the mayor.

And another thing: Her backpack was empty. Just as General Lee liked to cripple the Yankee armies by capturing their supply wagons, Marie had hoped to short-circuit Sally’s rebellion by seizing the contents of her backpack. So, piled on our front porch were Sally’s teddy bear, her flute, books, clothes and a sandwich. Her desperate little pile of stuff made me sad for her.

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Carter’s First Day of Preschool

Carter started preschool today and it was very hard for him and me.  There were lots of tears.  For those of you who don’t know me well and just stumbled upon my blog, I NEVER leave my children.  Blake and I have never left them overnight, except for when we were in the hospital having Kennedy.  We never leave our children with babysitters.  Blake and I personally feel it is very important that at least one of us is there for every bed time, every breakfast, lunch, dinner… just everything!  I know every mom and dad are different and believe me I have tons of friends that are not like me and I am totally okay with that.  I am just a different kind of mom.

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Setting Grit Goals: The Journey of a New School Year Begins

As we try to soak up the last few hours of summer before a new school year begins there is so much to do. I am checking and rechecking their back packs to make sure they have all of their school supplies. Making sure their lunch boxes and folders are labeled. Doing a final fitting of their school uniforms to make sure the shirts and bottoms are comfortable. Continue reading