Are you ready for a new school year?
Are you ready for a new school year? New lunchboxes, water bottles, empty school books, a fresh set of pencils and crayons are the marks of a new beginning. For many parents (and their children) tears, anxiety and tummy aches are part of the package too.
The first day my son went to school, I drove home with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes; it was a bittersweet moment. Pregnancy does not prepare you for those milestone moments of letting your child embrace a life separate from you.
So, at the start of the new school year in South Africa, I thought I’d write a blog about how to prepare yourself and your child for a new season. I’ve written a FREE short three-day devotional for you to print out and enjoy as you get started this year.
Moms and Dads prepare yourself as well
Firstly, take time to think through your dreams and hopes for your child this year and then commit them to the Lord. Secondly, think about your own life and when you were that age. How can you parent with empathy and courage? What age is your child? What do you they need from you right now? I speak about it at length in my book, Parenting with Courage and I hope that as you read that section it will equip you to guide them through their childhood years. Another good question to ask yourself is: What can you do today to inspire hope in your children and love them extravagantly? Finally, take a deep breath. Make yourself a cup of coffee, go for a run and smile. It will all be ok!
What can you do to prepare your children to thrive in their new environment
- Speak life over your son and daughter. Use words of encouragement and then pray for them before they leave for the day.
- Prepare nutritious school snacks for them by taking the time to research it beforehand. You and they will benefit from prepared, thoughtful meals. From time to time, leave a note in their lunchbox as a surprise.
- Celebrate every small milestone and moment. Be it a new friend, a day that went well or even taking courage to sign up for a new sport or cultural activity.
- Role play if need be. I’ve roleplayed various situations with my children over the years. These range from how to be a friend, handle a bully, try something new or even a prepared oral. A prepared child can navigate unchartered territories with greater ease.
- Guide your child through the day with conversations about what will happen when they get to school. Use age-appropriate discussions. You can even guide a three-year-old through their day by telling them what to expect. Don’t forget to smile. Tell them you love them and believe in them.
Finally, ask God for wisdom for you and your children. Wisdom makes all the difference with how you parent and the way your children will grow into who they were destined to be.
“And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom, and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace”. James 1:5
I’d love to hear your tips on how you start a new year with your kids. What do you do to set them up to thrive?