My Recent Field Trips

Lately, I’ve been getting out from behind my computer to do some visiting. On Tuesday, I went over to Clear Channel to record a back-to-school radio segment with the always fun and entertaining Lynn Hernandez. Early Sunday mornings at 7 a.m., Lynn steps away from classic rock to bring you Hot Topics on KMOD. Lynn invited me to sit down and talk with him about tips to get kids ready for going back to school. Vane Lucas, owner/director of Mathnasium, a math learning center with locations in South Tulsa and Broken Arrow (, joined us for a fun discussion.

First, I was pretty impressed with Vane’s suggestions for parents regarding math. I wish he had been around when my kids were going through their math struggles. We talked about public schools’ requirements, how Vane gets kids to actually like math and why it’s so important to get a good foundation of math skills. If kids miss a brick along the way, the whole math “house” can come tumbling down on them.

With Lynn, the conversation is always a little free-flowing, so I’m not sure what we talked about. Most of you know that getting kids back into the school routine ASAP is important. Start that sleep routine now, if you haven’t already. Sleep is so important. I see a lot of research that says that when kids get too little sleep, it can create all kinds of problems. For example, symptoms that look like ADHD in children can actually be the result of too little sleep. Lack of sleep can cause children (and adults) to eat more, increasing the risk for obesity. And too little can lead to depression and mood disturbances in all ages, especially those at risk for those things. It makes sense. Our brains just don’t function as well when we’re fighting to stay awake.

How much sleep should your kid get? According to the National Sleep Foundation, babies need 12 – 18 hours; toddlers ages 1 to 3 need 12 – 14 hours; ages 3-5 need 11 – 13 hours and school-age children ages 5-19 need eight hours a night. What about teens? Your teenager should be getting 8 ½ to over 9 hours of ZZZZs each night. Take those cell phones, computers and iPads away in the evening, parents.

It’s always a good idea to check out the new school before school starts in order to relieve anxiety in your children. Familiarize them with the building. Help them locate the gym, the cafeteria, the bathrooms. If they have to use lockers and combinations, practice that combination! There isn’t much time for a middle schooler to move from one class to another.

If you know other kids who will be going to school with your child, plan a gathering at your home or a park so that the kids can meet each other or reconnect before that first day.

Make the first day positive by having everything ready to go before the morning of the first day. Plan a special breakfast (just make it a healthy one!) New school supplies, or a new clothing item or shoes help kids get excited about going back to school. Plan a trip to get ice cream or another treat at the end of the day so you can listen to your child talk about his or her experience.

And be positive! Even if your school experience wasn’t great, don’t communicate that to your child.

If you want to hear our conversation, tune in to KMOD this Sunday at 7 a.m.

I’ll also be on Tulsa’s KTUL Channel 8 “Good Morning Oklahoma” on Tuesday, Aug. 20, with some super cute kids modeling back-to-school fashion trends from local stores including Ribbons and Ida Red on Peoria, and Trippets Shoes on Harvard. Their backpacks and lunch boxes were from Pottery Barn Kids.

I’d love to hear from you. What’s your best advice for getting your kids ready for back-to-school? What do you do to keep organized and in touch with teachers and other parents once school is back in session? Or just tell us why you love your child’s school. Please share. The best advice comes from other moms and dads.

Categories: Editor’s Blog