Sadly, summer vacation is ending and our attention begins to turn from lazy afternoons in the sun to shopping for school supplies, haircuts, sport physicals or special adventures yet to be taken. Preparing your kids for their new school year is more than yellow #2 pencils. A new school year needs a good beginning which includes the spiritual and emotional development of your child giving the upcoming year a strong foundation. Take a look below at a few ways to get this year off to a great start in your home.
Make the Unfamiliar Familiar.
There will be open houses, ice cream socials and orientations, but none will give you the intimate setting that your child needs to adapt to their new environment. The week before school starts, take a field trip to the school. Park the car, walk in and ask to walk through the building with your child. Walk the walk they make from the door they enter to the room they will call home. If the teacher is there, make introductions, find their locker and have a rest at their desk. If the door is locked, peek through the window. Snoop around the building by finding a drinking fountain and bathroom near their room. Scout out the library, lunch room and nurse’s office. And before you go, have fun on the playground.
Make a Practice Run.
As you start getting back on school time and head to bed 15 minutes earlier, set the date for a mock day of school. The night before pack the backpacks, set out the clothes, make the lunches, and do the whole bedtime routine together. Practice getting out the door and to school on time. Then, go treat yourself for a much needed cup of coffee and head to the park for play and picnic to enjoy one of your last free summer days.
Talk About It.
As you walk the dog to the school playground or drive down the same block as the school on the way to the store . . . Talk about it! While sorting through school supplies that can be used a second time around or creating the official homework nook . . . Talk about it! The “it” being school of course. The start of school is exciting, but it can also raise up anxiousness over the unknowns for the year ahead. Ask leading questions such as: What are you looking forward to the most? Who do you know in your new classroom? What are you hoping to learn or improve on this year? If your child has no interest in going back to school, focus on all that your child likes about school. By developing a forum to express their concerns, you can help them work through any worries before the year begins. Having this simple conversation will give your kids a confident start.
Bid Farewell to Summer.
Just before school starts plan something special for you and your kids as a way to celebrate being family. This has become one of our favorite family traditions – the back to school campout. Whether it’s 24 hours or 3 days, an hour from home or far away, whether you camp or stay at the Hilton…it really doesn’t matter. What matters is being intentional about spending time together. Turn off the electronics, the phones and your calendar and make investments into being a family, which will carry you when life becomes harried.
Pray for Your School.
As the school year draw nears, put your anxious energy into prayer. Just as Joshua walked around the wall of Jericho to prepare for battle, walk the grounds of your school and march around the building. Start with praying for growth and development of your child, for their friends, and for the strength to stand with integrity. Pray that they will have favor with God and man. Pray by name for the administration team, teachers, those that serve and the students. Pray for great discernment of the knowledge they will receive and wisdom to sort through it. Let God lead your prayers over your school and kids.
The weeks leading to school starting can be a fun time for families. Take smart steps so that everyone in the household eases into the transition as smoothly as possible while setting you all up for a good year.
Happy New School Year!