The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

September 1, 2012

ASK DEBRA: Back to School

By DEBRA WHITE SMITH
Palestine Herald-Press

QUESTION: School started this week. We have two kids in school. The mornings are unbelievably hectic, trying to get my kids in gear for school. By the time I get them out the door, there has usually been conflict, confusion, and chaos. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep the morning's peaceful and productive? My family has been through so many struggles, I really don't want my kids to have to start each day in a rushed and harassed frame of mind.

ANSWER: I have two kids as well who started school this week: a senior and a sophomore. I'd love to tell you every morning of their school lives has been serene and smooth, but I can't…or that they always will be. However, I can share a few things that have worked for us through the years to help ease stress.

First, give yourself and your kids sufficient time to get up and get dressed for school. Resist the urge to hit the snooze yourself. Then, if your kids resist getting up, consider offering them rewards if they get out of bed on time.

Second, do everything the night before that possibly can be done. In the morning before school should not be the time to finish homework. That should have already been done the night before. If your children are older, make certain they lay out their school clothes the night before. If they are younger, you can assist them. You can also partially or wholly prepare lunches and arrange breakfast the night before.

Third, read aloud a Bible verse for the day. I recommend the old fashioned Our Daily Bread set up. These are small cards filed in a holder that is a plastic bread loaf. It only takes a few seconds to read one Bible verse. The Word of God is not only inspiring, it has a wonderful affect on our state of mind and breads peace.

Fourth, make prayer a part of your morning. Before my kids leave the house every day, we get in a huddle, I place my arms around them, and I pray, “Dear Jesus, please be with Brett and Brooke today. Help them to find favor with their teachers and their peers. Help them to do well in all they attempt. Keep them safe to school and back. Amen.” Another mother I know whose sons are grown would individually hug each child and simply prayed, “Dear Jesus, please be with (name of child) today.”

Remember, the way your morning flows is often a choice. While there are things like flat tires and broken plumbing that are out of your control, for the most part, the management choices you make will guide the atmosphere of your morning and affect your children's frame of mind.

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The author of 54 books, Debra White Smith holds an M.A. from U.T. and is the featured relationship specialist on the Fox News Radio Show, “Plain Jane Wisdom.” She and her husband, Daniel, co-pastor Palestine Church of the Nazarene. For more information, visit www.debrawhitesmith.com. Got a problem? E-mail Debra at askdebra@live.com