I can’t believe I’m writing this blog about going back to school – it feels like summer just started! And where I live in Texas, the temperature has been above 100 for about two weeks now.
However, for most of the country, school starts in August. So here are some tips that I hope will help you and your children get ready.
- Get Excited! Children pick up from our attitudes so be excited about the new school year. You could start counting down the weeks or even the days, verbally or on a calendar. John Maxwell said, “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” If your children are nervous or not looking forward to school, encourage them to talk to you about how they’re feeling. And then help them prepare mentally for the new year.
- Plan a party. To help your children get excited, let them have a party. This is what my daughters would do the week before school would start. Remember, our kids haven’t seen many of their friends in three months and getting them all together is a great moral boost. And it doesn’t have to be extravagant – let them invite a few friends for a backyard party, slumber party or a picnic at a park. And let them help plan and prepare for it. Some soft drinks, homemade cookies and ice cream are an easy menu. What’s important is getting the kids together before school starts which can really help build their school relationships for the next year.
- Make a special day for buying supplies. I’m not sure why, but my daughters, especially my second born, literally loved buying school supplies. I think it is much more important to them then a parent realizes. Perhaps because all they have at school is what they bring with them. And yes, it’s expensive costing an average of $635 for a school age child for apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics. But when we make a special day for it, it shows we value them and their schooling.Let them choose the place and if your budget will allow, let them get whatever they really want. It is such a confidence booster. And for middle school kids or those who will have a locker for the first time, let them buy what they want, within reason, for their locker. Lockers are like a nest or a home away from home for them. Having some items they love gives them a comfort level in their new surroundings.Clothing is also part of their supplies. But I feel that children need to be aware of what is already in their closet and what they really need. So before clothes shopping, encourage the habits of cleaning out their closets two times a year: before school starts and before spring. It should be your child’s responsibility to sift through their belongings and clear out what doesn’t fit anymore, what they don’t like and what can be given away. I really believe it teaches them personal responsibility and good stewardship. After they have cleared out their closet and packed up what can be donated, they should vacuum and wipe down their closet shelves. Now, they can see what they have left and what they need to buy so they can make a list for the shopping day.This is also the time to find out what special shoes or jackets they really want. It seems there is always some clothing item that a kid just “has” to have! So, talk about it before you hit the mall. Everyone needs to understand what is going on in terms of the budget and the special items they want.
- Make one-on-one time. Once school starts, everyone gets so busy. Planning special time with each child can really be a great chance to slow life down and focus on just them. And again, it doesn’t have to be extravagant. Children would rather spend on-on-one time with their parents than almost anything else! But ask them what they would like and do all you can to do it. Examples could be taking them out to eat and then to a movie; a camping trip; riding bikes to get ice cream or just staying home and watching a movie. Children need to realize that going to school is their “work” and it’s important to get ready for it.
- Plan a school tour. Whether this is the same school or you just moved to a new school, touring the school is a great way to help your child get ready for going back. It gives them the chance to learn their new bus schedule, location of classrooms, how to open their locker, where the bathrooms are, etc. It can really give them a comfort level for their first day back.
I still have more tips to share but it’s making the blog too long! Make sure you read next week when I share more tips on helping your children get ready to go back to school!
Manna from Heaven
“Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths smooth.”