8 Back to School Tips for Parents

"back to school" backgroundThere are tons of on-line resources to help you organize and get your child ready for the new school year. One resource that looks helpful is: Back-to-School on the Family Education site. There you will find links to pages of tips and suggestions for making the transition back to school less stressful. You’ll find everything from school supplies to lunch ideas, from what to pack for college to a printable calendar.

Whether your children are homeschooled or attend a public or private school, it’s time to start preparing them physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

 8 Back to School Tips for Parents

1. Ask Questions – to start conversations about the new school year. Here are some questions I like:

  • What was your favorite thing about school last year?
  • What are you looking forward to most this year?
  • What makes a good teacher?
  • What makes a bad teacher?
  • What makes a good student?
  • What makes a bad student?
  • What is the best way to make new friends at school?
  • What is the best way to be a good friend?
  • What would you like me to pray about for you?

2. Listen to Answers – to find out how your child feels about going back to school. There are no right or wrong answers. The point is to get a peek at your child’s attitude about school.

3. Make a List – of the things your child likes about school. If they have trouble thinking of anything – remind them of your memories from the previous year or things you enjoyed when you were in school.

4. Adjust Routines - by gradually moving mealtimes and bed times to more closely match the school year schedule. If you’ve gotten out of the habit of a family dinner time, this would be a great time to sit down and enjoy your evening meal together. You may also want to make dinner a phone free time for everyone including mom and dad.

5. Plan a Command Center – a central place where you can organize paperwork for each family member. Come back Friday when I’ll post photos and ideas for beautiful and functional family command centers. For now, start gathering important phone numbers and immunizations records so you’ll be ready when all of those forms come home on the first day of classes.

6. Prep Homework Stations – a place where your child can get away from distractions and concentrate. Also talk about when your child will do their homework. Will they start as soon as they walk in the door or take a snack break and relax a bit first?

7. Check Your Anxiety – it’s normal for parents to feel anxious about their children going back to school. It’s also normal for children to mirror their parent’s feelings . . . so find another adult to talk to about your feelings and stay positive in front of your kids.

8. Stock up on notes, pictures, and cards – put one in their backpack or lunchbox, under their pillow, or in their jacket pocket. Remind them that you’re praying for them, love them, and that you’re proud of them.

Another site filled with educational resources is: School Family – Your go-to guide for school success.  I enjoyed the Back to School Quiz, a fun way to find out whether you can expect a relaxed or stress-filled back to school transition.

A reminder from a former teacher – please speak positively about your children’s teachers in front of them. Listen to their  concerns, affirm their feelings, but resist the temptation to be critical. Go to the teacher privately, listen more than you talk, and work together to find the best ways for your child to succeed.

Finally, choose a Bible promise to memorize with your child. One they can claim when things aren’t going the way they would like:

“Remember, I am always with you.” Matthew 28:20

“Do not be afraid—I am with you! I am your God—let nothing terrify you! I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you.” Isaiah 41:10

“Give thanks to God, His love lasts forever.” Psalm 136:2

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