from the heart
a blog designed to promote help, hope, healing
It is that time of year where Target and Walmart have ten school supply aisles and those last few days of summer are upon us. It is time for our kids to go back to school which means making a huge transition from the fun of summer to the structure of school. There are ways that parents can help their children make this transition a successful one:
1. Getting back into sleep routines
No matter how much effort my parents put into me keeping a normal sleep schedule during the summer I always ended up staying up late and sleeping in. Those first few weeks of waking up at 6:00 when school started was miserable - for grumpy me and for my poor parents. Start prioritizing a school sleep schedule now. It is best if this begins two weeks before school starts but it isn’t too late to start now. Getting enough sleep is vital to students success in school. Help them start the school year strong by getting back into a routine school sleep schedule.
2. Identifying a study space
Go ahead and talk about studying expectations with your student. How much time will they likely need to spend doing homework? For younger kids, will they be able to do this on their own or will they need you to sit with them? Studying and homework is always most productive when it occurs in a specific study space - whether this is a desk or the kitchen table. Study places to avoid include in front of the TV or in bed.
3. Talk about the emotions of school starting
Is your child excited about going to school? Or are they dreading it? Set some time aside with each child to talk about the emotions of school starting. Address any anxieties they might have about new teachers, new schools or making friends. Help them identify the positives of school starting (without discounting anything they may be anxious about). Are they excited that they will have a friend in their class? Do they love their new book bag? Help your child talk through their emotions of school starting again. Listen to what they have to say and validate how they are feeling. Acknowledge that it is normal to have some fears and anxieties about the first day of school.
4. Create a evening and morning routine
Children flourish under routine. If you can set expectations for them before school starts then you will most likely be successful in helping lessen the stress of school. Create a morning and evening routine that your children can easily follow. This helps lessen the chaos of bedtime and of getting up to go to school. Print out these routines and put them somewhere that your child can easily see them.
To help you talk to your kids about emotionally preparing to go back to school we've provided a list of discussion questions to cover with your child! We think these questions could open up wonderful lines of communication for you and your child.
August is quickly approaching and with the start of the new school year comes the promise of Fall. It seems as if Summer just began and it is already time for the season to change again. I personally love the changing of the seasons because it reminds me of God and the way that he has designed our world.
My favorite thing to watch during the year is how the trees change. They remind me of God’s promises in His word that there is a season for everything. Do you think the trees worry when their leaves begin to brown in the Fall? Or when the leaves begin to fall in the Winter? The trees remind me that change is normal, scheduled by God. Change is expected - and though the change in our lives may not always be as scheduled as the leaves changing colors in the Fall - it sometimes can be as scheduled as school starting in August.
Change can create anxiety. When something changes we don’t always know what to expect. But God reminds us that He is always there to care for us even in times of change. He reminds us to: "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matthew 6:26).
As the weather becomes cooler and the leaves on the trees begin to change color, I challenge you to lean into your seasons of change. God has promised us that there is a season for all things. He brings us to seasons and He brings us through seasons. How beautiful it is to have a God who does these things for us!
Trees do not stay the same forever. They take in water and sunlight. They grow taller and their leaves change, they flower, they fall. The seasons bring change in a beautiful way that can only happen in God’s timing. A tree can not simply grow taller overnight. A tree requires time, seasonal change, water and sunlight to grow into something different. If God can do such a thing with a tree, surely he can do such things with us!
Sometimes I lose track of what God cares about. There are days where I remember that God cares about sin and he cares about whether I live within his will. I forget that God cares about how I feel - he cares about the things that are important to me.
God cares about our sorrows and our tears. The Psalms make it clear that God knows and cares about every single moment that has brought us pain:
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalms 56:8 (NLT)
When I lose perspective on what is important to the Lord I forget to bring those things to him. If I think that he doesn’t care about my pain then I keep it to myself.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)
There is no worry or care that is too small for God to care about. He loves us and cares about us. He wants us to bring our worries and cares to Him. In fact, sharing these things with Him is vital to our relationship with Him.
Share your worries and cares with the Father today. Share these things without fear and without doubt. For God cares deeply about the pain that you carry. He knows what brings us pain and he offers comfort in abundance.
Written by our counselors to help promote your help, hope, healing