Parents’ 10 Essentials for Back to School

For parents of school-agers, this is a season of buying new backpacks, sneakers, and school supplies. You may be catching your breath from the flurry of summer trips and special activities, and now you’re looking forward to the comfort of a routine the school year brings. Still, this is a time of transition and that can be stressful for you and the kids. And in the midst of the “flurry,” don’t forget the priority of the child’s spiritual life. Don’t let their awareness of Jesus and His church get pushed out because of school. Here are 10 essentials for back to school to help your kids (and you) re-engage in school and still maintain a priority on spiritual things.

Be Understanding

For some children the challenge of new places and people can be overwhelming. Be understanding; listen to comments, complaints, and concerns. Acknowledge their fears. Some kids need bits of advice as to how to deal with the new challenges. Offer your own stories of facing such challenges including your successes and failures. Kids love stories of when mom or dad messed up!

Do Your Stuff!

Parents, make sure that you fill out all the required paperwork, online forms, etc. so your kids are not left without everything needed for a smooth start. It’s already a time of anxiety, don’t add to that when they’re singled out because something essential is missing.

$$$$

This can be a biggie! We know that this is an expensive time with new clothes, school fees and payments for extra curricular activities. It can be overwhelming to parents. The Today Show, on July 18, 2014 said the average family in the US will spend $670 on the supply list, up 5% from the prior year! Parents, work on not transferring that worry to your kids. They have enough concerns. Work out the dollars without rolling your eyes and throwing a fit because you have to pay an unexpected band fee.

Be On Time

Help your child grow in responsibility by being on time yourself. For some parents this is a life-skill yet to be learned! When you drop them off or pick them up, be on time. Set an example for them in all areas, not just school. Do you get to church on time or are you alway scrambling to find seats for everyone? Are you frantic to get to work yourself or is it clear that you have managed your own time well?

Teacher Relationships

Parents must be positive about teachers, while being compassionate to your child. You may be able help smooth out challenging relationships by making time to be an occasional classroom helper. Help teachers understand any special needs, such as physical, emotional, or academic challenges. Pray for and encourage your child’s teachers. Your goals are the same when it comes to the welfare of your kids.

Establish Home Routines

Good meals – not all fast or highly-processed foods. Plenty of rest – tired children struggle at school in physical, academic and behavioral ways. Establish a regular after school routine and stick with it as much as possible: Home from school, snack, play, homework, dinner, bath, read a fun story, read from the Bible, pray, head to bed. (Check out SundaySchoolZone.com for hundreds of free Bible activities your kids can use at home.)

Be Aware Of New Peers

At every age, you child’s friends have a dramatic impact on behavior, attitudes, and in many cases can begin to forge a path for the future, good or bad. Coach your child through good relationships. Talk about friends and activities. Get to know your child as you talk about their friends. Get to know their friends by inviting them over.

Make Some Home Assignments

Our goal in parenting is to end up with mature, responsible, followers of Christ. Guide them by providing age appropriate “chores” or jobs around the house. This responsibility will pay big dividends as they become teens and young adults. I have just suggested to my adult daughters (with kids) that they might want to look into a new smart phone app – “Chore Monster.” You may find it to be helpful.

Plan Some Down Time

Back to school can be overwhelming. Plan some fun family time for weekends early in the school year. Consider some things your family can do together such as a day trip, a movie date, a favorite meal, or just a visit from a friend.

Pray For Them Each Day, All Day!

It can be a tough world out there for kids. The bottom line for parents is to stay in touch with your busy kids. Listen to their joys and hurts. Be supportive, and give them guidance as needed. As your child(ren) come to mind, mention them to the Lord by name. Pray for their spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional safety.

As you read the above list, you’re likely going to think of other essentials for back to school. As with all things in life, the key is being deliberate and intentional. Yes, life is busy, but your children and their spiritual well-being is important. Make these things a priority in your life and their’s!

David Morrow
Preschool Pastor
Long Hollow Baptist Church
Hendersonville, Tennessee

Read other articles by David Morrow.

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