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Playtime is over

By From page A8 | August 09, 2014

Summer vacation is over. It’s time to refocus, set your schedule and get back on track with pursuing your educational plan.

You may be headed to high school, college or trade school. Either way, it’s time to take care of business. Playtime is over.

You may have been hanging out late during the week. You may have been staying up all night on Xbox or binge watching “The Walking Dead.” Those activities will be replaced with a new structured academic schedule of earlier bed times, trips to the library, study groups and online research.

I know! Exciting stuff, huh?

Parents are just as excited when school starts for a different reason. We get to send our youngsters away for five days a week. It’s not that we don’t love them to pieces, but most parents around this time are fresh out of nerves as far as dealing with their teens.

Summer is a challenging time for parents. We have to be concerned with where to send the kids during the day while we are at work. They will not be hanging around the house unsupervised all day, every day. So we break out the checkbook and break ourselves sending them to summer camp, basketball camp, football camp, boot camp or anywhere that will take them for at least eight hours per day.

I was upset that my son was not recommended for summer school by his teachers. I had to be reminded that that was a good thing. During the summer, you have to at least try to make it a rewarding time by way of family vacation or a camping trip.

School shopping for clothes and supplies is always a challenge, especially if you are dealing with teenager. Trying to satisfy the fashion trends of today’s youth is a very tall order. They are very particular about what they wear. I thought a T-shirt was a T-shirt, but no. It has to be a certain length and a special brand or it won’t work for them.

I have given up shopping for my teenage daughter. To avoid a lot of stress, an elevated blood pressure and a bad attitude, I just set a budget, give her the money and let her do the shopping. She may unwisely spend $200 on one outfit but she will be pleased.

Yes, if you are a parent, things are now back to normal. Now that school has begun, you can send them to bed at 9 p.m. instead of 11 p.m. or midnight just to make sure they are getting that recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep.

For most households the routine is: After school, check the homework, have dinner, spend an hour of leisure time, then it’s time for bed. As part of the parenthood creed, we need to find some quality time within that routine to connect with our children by way of talking with them and not at them. Remember, there is a time to correct and a time to connect.

Develop a working relationship with their teachers. We now have so many means to communicate with teachers through emails, cellphones or text messages. The world of parent-teacher communication has changed dramatically. Now you can find out how your child’s day was before he or she even gets home from school.

To all parents and students, good luck and have a very productive school year. Remember, playtime is over.

Deon Price is an author and youth life skills coach who lives in Fairfield. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/youthgeneration.

Deon Price


Discussion | 4 comments

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  • JagAugust 09, 2014 - 9:25 am

    Challenging is not the half of it, I had to ground my 17 year old for the entire summer for grades, I gave her every chance last year I even offered to pay for extra tutoring to help but she kept playing around and kept thinking I am Mr., nice dad until that final report card came home and the dad bomb drop. (by by car,cell phone and computer) I did leave the bedroom door on, but the other day she said I will never ever do this again, come on first report card, another Good article sir.

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  • EllleAugust 09, 2014 - 11:54 am

    Play time maybe over for some kids. But that has never been applicable for my own daughter. Learning early on that math and language arts were going to be challenges for her, I set out to ensure that she received tutoring during school AND during summer. Now don't get me wrong, I am by no means a Tiger Mother but today's world is filled with so many distractions that it makes it difficult for our kids to re-group and focus during regular school days. Distractions from video games, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine -the list goes on. I can't figure out how she can focus on her phone and stay updated on ALL activity for hours, not allowing their minds to imagine and develop analytical and critical thinking skills. But ask them to pick up a book and read for an hour - it's like you told them that you are not their bilogical parent. Its a routine now. Phones and tabs are in my possession once we walk thru the door after school. During the summer, she gets her phone when all tutoring homework and chores are done AFTER I come back from work. I never have to worry about video games because the controllers are with me. My daughter couldn't afford to not keep her brain gears tuned-up during summer. By limiting her play yime, her grades has improved where she finished middle school with a 3.3 gpa. Now that school resumes fairly soon, I am confident that her motor will start right up. And I won't have to wait for the report card because her Weekly Progress Report tells all. She now nows that is she works hard...she can play hard.

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  • Deon PAugust 10, 2014 - 11:03 am

    Elle, We are overwhelmed with the distractions. I have written extensively about how the distractions of technology hurts our youth in many ways. The ability to focus, concentrate and communicate is the biggest concern. Good luck to your daughter. Thanks for reading.

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  • Deon PAugust 10, 2014 - 10:56 am

    Jag, I admire your parenting style... Being consistent is critical. I have been disappointed in my daughters work ethic as well. She struggled all year but improved at the end. I was fortunate to find a highly academic college prep summer program for her at the Maritime College which should help with her study habits and work ethic. This is her senior year... Good luck to you and your baby girl...Thanks for reading.

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