Keep Calm and Parent On: Back to School Edition

Posted by Lisa DeBusk, Legacy Campus KIDS CO. Elementary Pastor, on Aug 07, 2022

Keep Calm and Parent On: Back to School Edition

Wasn’t the last day of school last week? Where has the summer gone? How can we already be looking at the start of another school year, again?

These are all valid questions and ones that parents ask themselves every year. Time just has a way of slipping by quickly, but oh so quietly. We seem to awaken one day to find that the slow dog-days of summer have passed us by.

The stores, though, seem to keep us in check with their school displays, sales on crayons, and fresh backpacks and lunch boxes. We get jolted out of our complacency with the prices and masses of moms in each aisle carefully selecting what is on the supply list (and balancing that with what their children actually want to have).

We all know that getting the items on the supply lists is a great and necessary part of prepping for the school year, but are there more things parents can do to help their children navigate the day-to-day situations? YES! There are plenty of things parents can do! The following are just a few:

Encourage your child to create 1–3 goals to accomplish this year.

Help your child to have a target to aim towards. Make sure the goals are attainable but will still stretch your child a bit. On the other hand, don’t allow the goals to be too hard, or your child will quickly feel defeated and give up.

What does this look like?

If your child is a struggling reader, help them select a goal that might include

  • listening to a book read by you,
  • reading one book to you, and then
  • reading one book on their own.

Select a book that is a bit above their reading level for the first part. Then, with your child, select a book that is right on their reading level for the second part. Finally, let your child select the book for the third part.

Help your child get organized.

As adults, we know the value of a decluttered space. We understand that the more clutter there is in our workspace, the more difficult it can be to do work at all, let alone quality work. We need to help our children with this idea. Being organized lessens the times of missing work that has been shoved to the back of the desk, helps students stay on track, and begins to create a lifelong habit.

What does this look like?

This might include

  • taking your child with you as you shop for school supplies, and letting them pick out containers for supplies like scissors and markers.
  • talking to your child’s teacher to enlist help in having your child clean out their desk once a week.
  • starting at home with toys and clothes. Have special places to put toys away. Make sure that the clothes kept are only the ones that fit, could be worn almost anywhere, and have specific spots they are stored.

Help your kid take responsibility for their actions.

This is an ongoing lesson. This isn’t one that you can teach in one setting and congratulate yourself on being done. As a society, we see the effects of citizens who have not had to take responsibility for much of anything they have done. While it seems kind in the beginning, for a parent to step in and clear away every obstacle is NOT kind. It sets up a system of entitlement that we all have to deal with later, in one way or another.

What does this look like?
As a parent, encourage your child to prioritize the important things first. Many times those are also the hard things, which is where our parental compassion comes in, but stick to your guns. For example,

  • Have your child complete any school work or chores BEFORE going outside to play.
  • When you hear your child saying an unkind statement to someone, stop what you are doing, stop what your child is doing, and talk with them. If appropriate, make them apologize to the other person.
  • If your child has broken something, work with them to fix it or replace it.

Help your kid be the kind one.

Imagine what our world would be like if everyone were the kind one! At some point, we all experience being left out, looked over, and feeling invisible. What if we modeled for and trained our children to actually see others around them? And showed them how to do something proactive and loving about it?

What does this look like?

This lesson is most powerfully learned by watching people do it. It involves you showing your child how to be kind to others.

  • When the cashier at the grocery story is a little snippy, be even more kind. Ask the cashier’s name and empathize with the situation.
  • Greet people on the street with a smile.
  • Be thoughtful and open the door for someone.
  • Pay for someone else’s drink at a restaurant or drive-through.

When little eyes see these things happening, their heart sees them too. After school, ask your child who seemed left out that day. Make a special routine like getting a McDonald’s ice cream cone when the teacher emails with a positive story of your child being the kind one.

There are so many ways you can be the life coach your child needs. These are just a few—check out our Two Essential Back-to-School Lists for some more ideas. Your child can have the most amazing school year yet because of your intentionality.

So…keep calm and parent on!

For more parenting help, make sure to check out the Parent Cue App and other kids' ministry resources, here.

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