Last week was Part 1 of helping to get your children ready for school. Here are some more great tips:
- Be supportive. Each child is different. Some have anxiety about their first day back to school and other kids are so excited they can’t sleep the night before. So each child needs your support in their own way. If they want to ride the bus the first day, let them even if you had your heart set on taking them. If they want you to drive them, do it. I remember the time my daughter wanted to wear a fleece jacket on her day in middle school in a new city. It was Dallas and it was over 90 degrees that day. But she wanted to wear it so she did! And it gave her a lot of comfort.
Think about other things that comfort your kids. Maybe it’s making a homemade lunch with their favorite foods to help them through the day. Maybe they want you to come and have lunch with them. The important thing is to find out what it is and do it! As parents, we’re the security blanket and we need to listen to what they want and do what they need.
A special note to helicopter parents!: Only go to the school WHEN YOU’RE INVITED. Teachers and administrators are busy preparing a successful year for your kids, so don’t visit when you haven’t been asked and don’t wear out your welcome. But, don’t miss the opportunity when asked.
- Be an involved parent. It’s important to find ways to get involved that fit into your life and work for your child. Most schools have many volunteer opportunities – even work-outside-the-home moms can find something that isn’t too time consuming. You have to test the waters to see what’s right for your kids – and this test happens constantly because your kids are changing constantly. There’s a very fine line between being an active, involved parent and being an over-bearing, helicopter parent. Pay attention to your child’s personality. If they don’t need or want you in the classroom, volunteer in the library. The important thing about volunteering at the school is that it gives you the chance to see how the teachers interact with the kids, what the food in the cafeteria is like, how bullying is handled, and what disciplinary action looks like. You’re able to get to know the teachers, other parents and be informed about the goings on at your kids’ school.
- Don’t forget to connect each day. There are many activities tugging at your kids’ attention today – from sports to other extracurricular endeavors to technology. When my kids came in from school, I was home and met them at the door – we would sit down for a snack and a chat. No matter how busy I was, I tried to always get off the telephone or the computer. My goal was to drop everything when they walked in that door. I realized that once they started school, there were only four times in a day when I could connect with them – in the morning when everyone’s busy trying to get out the door; when they come home from school; at dinner; and at bedtime. If they’re playing a sport or other after school activity, some parents might not see their kids until bedtime. While you may not be able to meet them at the door, be mindful about establishing time to connect with your kids based on your own work schedule and their schedule. Your kids are leaving your home when they turn 18, so it’s really important to make the time now!
Did you know that responsibilities for teens lower depression? A study of Chinese-American youth found lower levels of depression than their American
counterparts, and it seems the role the teens play in the home responsibilities is the reason. The study, which followed tweens between the ages of 14 and 16, found an emphasis on sharing family obligations, such as caring for younger siblings and helping with the household, resulted in a strong family bond and overall increased feelings of
security. The bottom line? Give your children chores beginning at age two. Our goal is to teach and help develop our children into productive adults by the age of 18.
Manna from Heaven
As our children start to go back to school, remember that the most important thing they can ever learn is God’s Word. Teach them the Bible daily. Do not rely on your church or Sunday school teacher for they may fail in this most important area.
“The proverbs of Solomon son of David, King of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young – let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance – for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:1-7