Sharing the setting of school routines: delegating incremental responsibility as your child grows by working together to set house rules and standards of acceptable behavior. By enjoining each child, they learn about decision making, family values, and accountability to themselves and to each person in the family. Blended and step families may have different schools or new schools and extended family interests to integrate with or evolve from previous routines. Extend the learning to helping out in planning and cooking nutritious satisfying meals. Meet the principal before school starts, if possible, when a developmental change in your child has been discovered over the summer to understand the options available for your child early on. Request recommendations to district resources to secure prompt assistance. Dinner table family time: Ask questions to stimulate critical thought and encourage great communication skills. Turn conversations to explaining and teaching children about balance in academic, solo and team athletics, family and best friend activities. Express and act on your commitment to be available and a supportive pillar for your child’s needs in the good and difficult times. Inventory clothing, school supplies, food staples: Even once settled in a new routine, a single event can jeopardize the best laid plans. Available prepared healthy foods allows kids them to feed themselves when parents are distracted. A watchful eye to ensure regular sleeping habits helps to maintain alertness and good judgment. Routine reminders for all students: The family supports, guides, and encourages each member to achieve to their highest potential. When routines are humming and every family member is on the same page with bathroom use, breakfasts, bus schedules, and car pools, the residual satisfying feeling of security and belonging is nurturing and supportive. Master calendar updates: A first chore at the end of a school day is to highlight tests and assignment dates on a reusable wall calendar. Accomplishing difficult graded tasks before deadlines rewards not only instils the child with confidence and pride. It’s wonderful modelling for the younger siblings to emulate. Setting small attainable goals to get through a music piece or master a tough sports practice. Diminish fears by offering honest feedback and allowing children to learn from their mistakes. For tasks at home, consider involving your child to set the next challenge just beyond their abilities making the achievement all the more inspiring. Asking for help: Enrolling the assistance of someone with skills we don’t have demonstrates maturity. We hire a professional to accomplish what we are unable to do. An older student, a neighbour, and students in the school club can be enlisted to help with the physics lessons. Checking all systems are good to go: Medical check -ups for participation in sports, eyesight and hearing, and following up on any summer injuries can be handled early. Ensure house safety –alarms, early warning systems, fresh batteries furnace filters changed – is up to par before the new routines cloud agendas. Positive encouragement motivates Last words out the door are what are remembered by your kids on the trip to school and as you head off to work. Special notes in lunch bags or placed in gym bags area simple reminder that you’re thinking about them. Parenting plans for blended and step families generate lots of things to think to about. Let me know about your circumstances and how I can help you. Lorisa Stein is a senior lawyer practicing in Ontario.