How to mess up back-to-school

"Children want the same things we want: To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained, and delighted." (Dr. Seuss)

Almost half the U.S. is already back in school. My teacher wife went back, for the first time in memory, when the calendar still read "July."

So, this week's Pauses (except for tomorrow's, for reasons you'll see in the morning) will give you 5 ways to really mess it up this year. That's right--if you're wanting to get this year off to a terrible start, be sure to follow this advice to the letter. Here's

1. Overschedule everyone. If you want to defeat all the hopes you want most (peaceful family encounters, respectful & self-motivated kids, a life of your own), then be sure to say "YES" to all the pressures you feel right now.:

  • Multiple sports at the same time for your daughter? Yes, please!

  • Volunteering to be Room Mom, Team Mom, Assistant Coach, and Carpool Coordinator, for each of your kids? Yes, please!

These are all choices, and that means you can say NO. You want the family of your dreams?

  • Schedule one extra-curricular activity per semester for each kid. Max.

  • Schedule dinner at home together at least three nights / week. Minimum.

  • Schedule phone-free game night once/week.

  • Have at least one unscheduled weekend / month.

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