It feels like this summer has FLOWN by for us! It was my first summer at home with the girls full time and in between visits with their cousins, Vacation Bible School, swim lessons, and play dates, we enjoyed just being together. If I’m honest though, I’m kinda sad that they will be heading back to school in just a couple weeks. I know that not everyone feels that way though! I have several friends who are counting the hours down! That may be me by next week! HA!
As we are gearing up for school this coming year, I am beginning to think of ways that we need to get ready. Yes, we will be buying the school supplies and the new backpack. (Who knew that preschoolers needed school supplies!?!) But I also want to prepare their hearts to go back too. I want them to see this as a new year, a new start, and new opportunities to see others around them.
Here are some ideas for us as we head back:
- PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! Begin praying even now before you go back. Pray with your kiddos for their new school year. Pray for their teacher. Pray for their friends who they already know and for the new friends that they will make. Pray for the administration of their schools and for those in authority over them this coming year. Invite and encourage them to pray for these things too! Meet up with other parents and friends and prayer walk at your school too! I know locally there are several prayer walks that happen at schools at the beginning of each year. Join one or organize one!
- Look for the NEW Families! This is fresh on my mind this year because my girls will be the new kids this year. We’ve loved our previous preschool but when I resigned my position, we also made the decision to move them to a preschool that was closer to where we lived. As my four year old was chatting with me before bed the other evening, she shared that one thing she was nervous about was not having any friends. She’s four and already feels the pain of not knowing anyone. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the third grader or the eighth grader or even the senior in high school. Let’s be parents that open our hearts and our lives to the new and encourage our kids to do the same! Encourage them to play with them, invite them in, make them feel at home. And let’s do the same for the new mamas too!
- Be FOR your child’s teacher! I believe that teachers have one of the hardest jobs – hands down! Not only do they have to be at their best all day for 20-30 children at a time, they have to answer to the authority over them, and meet state and national requirements, all the while keeping parents pleased too… whew, that’s tough! Let’s do our best to offer encouragement to our teachers, to be patient with them, to back them (maybe even if we don’t agree with them). You can do that by asking them what they need, showing up to offer help when they need it, sending a goody or two (even when it’s not a holiday), thanking them. We never know what battles our teachers are facing – they are people just like you and I and sadly, many people forget that during the course of the school year.
- Be involved! Sign up to go on that field trip. Help with that class party. Check to see if you can read to your child’s class. Ask how you can be involved. As believers, we have lots of opportunities to shine the light of Christ in our child’s classroom. Don’t miss those opportunities. For mamas that are working, many times there are morning activities for children who have to arrive early. Several years ago, I had a fun opportunity to go and read to kids who arrived early at a local school. It was early but it was fun and all I had to do was read, which was about all I could muster so early! ha Look for ways to use your gifts too. Some schools have book clubs, drama clubs, art clubs, computer clubs, running clubs, and so on… Just ask how you can get plugged in! And keep asking!
- Serve kids and families in need. There are many kids who will come to school with your kiddo who may or may not have enough to eat or clean underwear. They will head out on Friday unsure of what they will eat over the weekend too. There are ministries that provide a backpack of food for a child to take home on Friday and return on Monday to receive it again the following week. Donate canned goods, your time or financially to those ministries. Also many schools have food pantries or keep extra clothes for those families that need assistance. While teachers and administration can’t give you specific children and families, they can share the needs with you. Just be sure to keep your eyes and your hearts and your hands open. Also, just know that many teachers take it upon themselves to buy that new pair of shoes for the child in their class who’s shoes have fallen apart. So maybe you could send a teacher a gift card to help with those items too!
I’m mostly new at this heading back to school thing, so what ideas have you put in to practice to help you and your kiddos get ready to head back to school! Let’s share our ideas and encourage one another as a new school year kicks off!