Newsmaker- Jennifer Joy Madden


All parents want their kids to be successful in school and to be durable and effective in body and mind. So, according to Jenifer Joy Madden – a Syracuse University Digital Media Adjunct Professor, former WJET Reporter and Founder – now’s the time to get your child ready for school success by setting up your household and starting new habits.

First, JJ advises, design your household so you and your kids stay in touch as the school year revs up. For most families, the only time they come together all day is during mealtimes.

To make sure everyone can catch up and stay connected, disconnect from devices. Set up a container, like a basket or box, next to the table, but out of reach. Everyone puts their devices in the container while they eat.

That way, kids learn the important art of conversation and parents can use their eyes and ears to watch how their kids are doing and pick up cues that something may be bothering them and detect problems before they become larger.

Next – prioritize SLEEP. With enough sleep, kids do better in school and get along better with others.

Great habits to start now:

  • set up and start regular bed times
  • stop using screens an hour before lights out
  • place digital devices and electronics out of the bedroom so kids aren’t interrupted during the night by beeps, texts, etc.
  • give kids an alarm clock to wake them up so they don’t have to use their phones
  • To jumpstart new habits, download The Durable Family Pledge at

Choose five habits together to start now and keep them up for four weeks – which will take you right into the start of school after Labor Day!

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