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By now all students across North Iowa have returned to the classroom.

“Yeah!” exclaim parents both near and far.

It’s also time to get back into a regular schedule or rhythm in our households.

We spend nine months working into a schedule that works well, then in the next three months it falls apart just in time for us to start all over again. There were many times I wished I could have had that regular pattern all year long.

If you’re looking for ideas to develop a pattern or healthy rhythm, here are some ideas:

• Eat as many meals together as possible, with no cell phones or televisions on.

• While eating, engage your child in conversation. Communication is a very important part of functioning in society, more than knowing how to use your Smart Phone.

• Develop a set time for children to complete their homework.

• Spend time together some time during the week, preferably at least once during the week and at least once over the weekend.

• Enroll your children in an after-school program, either at a fitness center or your local library. Help them expand their minds and strengthen their bodies.

• Limit their amount of TV or computer time (unless related to homework).

Of course, implementing many of these ideas won’t be easy.

But, if we can try just one of these ideas this school year, even first semester, I bet you will be surprised as to how it will lead to more pattern changes.

The key is to establish the pattern(s) at a young age. It will make it easier for those patterns to carry into the future.

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As we begin to focus on school, vocabulary will certainly be a part of many students’ homework assignments.

The following list contains some of the new words added to the 2019 Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

How many of them have you heard? Do you know the definition(s) without looking? Give it a try.

Snowflake: Now used to mean both “someone regarded or treated as unique or special” and “someone who is overly sensitive.”

Purple: Extending the blending of red and blue to the metaphorical level, purple can now refer to geographical areas where voters are split between Democrats and Republicans.

Tailwind and headwind: These words are now often used figuratively to refer to a force or influence that either helps or hinders progress.

Peak: Metaphorically extended to mean “being at the height of popularity, use, or attention,” as in “peak television” (or maybe “peak word nerd”).

Goldilocks: Even a fairy tale can become a metaphor, and this new colorful definition, referring to the character whose preferred porridge is neither too hot nor too cold, has inspired astronomers to use it to describe “an area of planetary orbit in which temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold to support life.”

Page view: an instance of a user viewing an individual page on a website.

On-brand: typical of a particular brand or public image or identity.

Garbage time: the final moments or minutes of a game in which one side has an insurmountable lead.

Go-cup: a plastic or paper cup used especially for taking a beverage off the premises of a bar, restaurant, etc.

Screen time: This first referred to the amount of time someone appeared in front of a camera in a movie (a use dating back to the golden age of Hollywood) and now referring to time spent in front of a screen.

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