Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back to School-Teaching Kids to be Self Sufficient

It seems that just when you have adjusted to a summer schedule, school begins for fall, which means a whole new routine. When school starts, moms have more time and freedom, which is a welcome relief. But it can be quite stressful when your child comes home at the end of their first day frustrated with problems. Remember your child is facing new classes, new teachers, new schedules, and plenty of new expectations. Whenever there is change involving new opportunities, there is also excitement, tears, frustration and confusion. Sometimes as parents we expect our children to handle these problems on their own. Most children need help learning organization skills. If you can teach your child to be self sufficient or more organized, you can lesson the frustrations.

As a parent, your goal is to teach your child organization skills so eventually they will be self sufficient.

Acknowledge that each child will have new problems as they return to school. Your goal is to solve each problem as they arrive calmly. By doing this you are teaching them problem solving techniques that will benefit them throughout their lives.

1. Discuss the problem with your child.
2. Discuss possible solutions.
3. Let your child choose the solution.
4. Help your child accomplish the desired solution

Example Problem:

Lost notes from a teacher or missing homework assignments.

Example Solutions:

1. Organized Backpack
2. Organize an area at home for school assignments
3. Organization at school for locker or desk
4. Buy a planner and show your child how to use it
5. Go online to check student's progress


1. You are "teaching". Do not expect that your child automatically knows how to organize or be self sufficient.
2. Have patience, especially with those kids that are lacking in organizational skills. Do not expect perfection immediately
3. Stay calm. This is not a problem that should destroy the relationship
4. Your child wants to be successful. Your child wants to be self sufficient. Help them to find that success.

Parenting Workshop
Thursday, September 16th
Barnes and Noble
10180 South State Street
Sandy, Utah
7:30 p.m.
Register online at

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Responses to the Summer Challenge

I got such a kick out of the responses I got on my webpage to the summer challenge we gave to parents on Studio 5, that I thought I would post a few on this blog. All I can say is "Way to go parents!". Just the fact that you took this seriously and gave it a try is amazing. Here goes:

I took your summer challenge. I gotta admit, I did not believe it would work. But I was at my wits end with the fighting and arguing going on with my three little boys. Instead of getting done all the things on my list, I changed gears and we spent every morning doing activities my boys wanted to do. I can’t tell you the change this brought about in our family. The boys are not fighting anymore. They actually get along and play together. I even found I started looking forward to our morning activities. I really found I had a fun summer and was a lot happier playing with my kids.
Rebecca Johnston/SLC

I liked your ideas on Studio 5 about fixing relationships. I have two teenage boys who will hardly talk to me. The ignore everything I say. I figured this summer would be a good time to try and figure out what was wrong. I took your advice and started writing down our conversations. You were right. All I was doing was nagging them. I was shocked to see how negative I had become. So it was hard, but I quit saying all the negative stuff. Instead of telling them to shut off the television, I sat down and watched TV with them. We went and got slurpees every day. Something I normally never do. I was amazed how they started talking to me. I think when they realized I could be a nice person, they actually wanted me around. I’m not perfect at this yet, but I will never let our relationship go back to what it was. Thank you for that simple solution!
Jeanie Sharp/Bountiful

O.K. I know I am a bit rigid and it was my husband who suggested I try your challenge. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I have always felt bad that my kids would rather be around their dad. I’m tired of being the “not fun” parent. But I did it. I played hooky all summer. The house is a mess and I feel like we have not gotten anything responsible done, but we had the best time. I didn’t realize that it was me who was making my youngest daughter be so stressed out. She told me yesterday that this had been the best summer of her life! I actually will be sad to see them go back to school. Although it will feel good to get the house cleaned up.
Trisha Thompson/Draper