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How Stepdads Can Prepare for Back-to-School

Heading back to school can be one of the most trying times for a young child. The long days of summer — playing outside, swimming in the local pool, and enjoying nice bike rides with friends — are no longer.

Instead, the fun, carefree times will be replaced with long days sitting at a desk, lectures, and lest we forgot the dreaded homework. As a stepparent, many stepdads find it difficult to help their stepchild shift from such a leisurely lifestyle back to one requiring a lot of work and discipline.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be accomplished alone. In fact, stepfathers across the country go through the same ordeal every single year.

Ease Them In

The very first day of school will be hectic, especially on sleep schedules throughout the entire household.

Instead of waiting until the last minute, begin easing the entire family into the upcoming schedule at least a week ahead of time.

This means early bedtime for the children. Then early rising at the time when school would begin.

For the adults, a bit earlier rising will be required to make sure lunches are packed; backpacks organized, and no one misses the morning school bus.

Create a Calendar

Most schools will send home a calendar to make sure students and parents are on the same page and don’t miss a single event throughout the school year.

A centralized location for all school calendars will help you track after-school activities, volunteer programs, school assemblies, and sports events for the teens.

It’s important for you to attend and participate in school activities, especially those your teen are a participant in. Your presence serves as a support for your teen and will ultimately go a long way.

Shopping Trip

The dreaded school shopping trip before the start of the new school year is one that many parents, step or not, do not look forward to whatsoever. However, an informed shopper is one who can accomplish their tasks and snatch up every item with ease.

Back to school sales will begin as early as June or July, so take advantage of the specials before it’s too late. One day during the summer, take an afternoon and assess the clothing of every child in the household to determine whether they will need new shirts or pants before the school year begins.

Alternatively, you can speak with the school directly to learn exactly what your child may need and what their classroom will provide beforehand. Should the classroom not provide three-ring binders or spiral notebooks, for example, it would be best to know beforehand long before the local store runs out of both items in the school rush.

Is your child in an extracurricular activity? Do you need an instrument for band, theater costumes for drama, or cleats and pads for football? These kinds of specialty items will not always be on a standard school supply list, so it’s good to double check.

Independence

A lot of children, especially teenagers, will be seeking their freedom during the school year. It’s best to nurture this feeling instead of hindering their desires.

Your child can easily manage a lot of tasks on their own, so remember how much of a capable young adult they are growing into through schoolroom discussions and activities. Some parents find it necessary to write down their children’s assignments or organize their notebook and binder.

Don’t do this, however. Instead, let the promising young man or woman do this work for themselves, allowing them to feel a real sense of accomplishment.

There’s no single right way for a step-father to motivate their children and support them. The school year can be tough, but getting started on the right foot is the most vital step to ensuring a productive, enjoyable year of school.

About The Author

Marlena Stoddard writes on parenting and relationships. Originally from Senoia, GA, Marlena lives in Santa Rosa, CA with her husband and two children. Marlena grew up in a blended family and saw firsthand the challenges of joining two different families with different cultures and backgrounds. For more on Marlena, you can follow her on Google+.

Marlena contributed two popular articles in the past: Five Last Minute Meal Ideas For Families on the Go and Tips to Divorce-Proof Blended Family Marriages.

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