It has so many possibilities. And with a new year comes a future that can be used by God in so many ways. Our goal is to teach our children and grandchildren how to live according the ways of God, how to live with each other and how to make sure their lives make a difference.
But, getting to school each morning can be the hardest part! I am not a morning person so I had a real struggle getting my girls off to school each morning. Here are some tips that I hope will help you.
- Establish routines. Children thrive on routines for it gives them boundaries which give them security. So make sure you have set bedtimes, set wake up times, set meal times.
- Begin these routines a week or so before school starts. Our systems need time to get used to waking up earlier. Don’t wait until the night before school starts.
- Packing lunches. I always sent a lunch because the food at their schools just wasn’t nutritious. I usually packed the same items but another idea is to list all the possibilities and let them choose what combination they want as: roll up ham or turkey sandwiches, almonds, string cheese and crackers, cut up fruit, etc. Do NOT send pre-packaged foods like chips and cookies. These are so processed there isn’t any food value.
- Choose clothes the night before. This includes all hair accessories, socks, shoes, undergarments, everything! Also, have a rule that these decisions can’t be changed the next morning. Girls can be very dramatic about their clothes so settle it the night before.
- Give your children choices. When they are little, pull out 2 or 3 outfits and let them choose the one they want. This really helps them with decisions and gives them a sense of ownership.
- Give extra help for those with ADD, etc. I have heard that some boys really have a hard time choosing clothes. One mother selected clothes for each day and placed them in Monday-Friday bins so he wouldn’t have that struggle each morning.
- Establish/delegate responsibilities. As your children get older, they need to be the ones to set out their own clothes, make their own lunches, get their backpacks in the “to go” zone, hand you any papers to sign or review, etc.
- Supplies. Make sure you have plenty of computer paper and ink and other supplies so that the night before a paper is due you aren’t running to Staples at midnight! I also had a rule that all deadlines had to be finished 2 days before instead of the night before in case something didn’t work.
- And establish re-entering guidelines. Coming back home after a full day of school is a transition. They need certain rules as:Plan a celebration either in the afternoon when they get home that first day, such as going out for ice cream, or a special dinner that evening.
- Where to unpack their backpacks and leave folders in the same place each day.
- Have a set time when the parent can sit down with each child to go over the papers and homework given. This is a good time to find out from them when they will work on homework. (I used to have a no TV rule until homework was finished but one of my teens needed a show to unwind. Once I saw that it made such a difference for her and her grades stayed up, I let her watch when she came home. BTW, it was a healthy family show).
- However! I believe a “No TV on school nights” is a firm rule. Children need time to read, play outside and be with family and friends. TV disrupts that. And along with this rule, have guidelines with computer and phone time.
- Have a rule that lunch boxes and water bottles go to the sink to be rinsed and either cleaned or loaded into the dishwasher.
- This is a great time for you to stop what you are doing and have a snack with your children. These are some of my favorite memories with my girls.
- Plan a celebration either in the afternoon when they get home that first day, such as going out for ice cream, or a special dinner that evening.
- Make memories. Take a picture of each child in the same spot on the first day of school each year and you will see how they grow! Or take a video where they can share what this new year will be for them. You could even ask them “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
- Remember that each child is so different. Some do well in school and some struggle. Encourage them to do everything the best they can whether its school work, sports, music lessons or setting the table.
- And last, let your morning be calm enough so they are calm. Pray with them each morning as they walk out the door to the bus or before they leave your car.
Manna from Heaven
“Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?” Proverbs 8:1