Guest post from Jamie Oliver
Growing up, I attended public school and we started the school year the day after Labor Day every year for 13 years. And every year I was sick with nerves that first week. We had to change elementary schools twice in 3rd grade/4th grade due to moving, then up to middle school in 7th grade and high school in 9th grade…and each of those new school transitions was unsettling. And I know I’m not alone–my husband has confessed that he never enjoyed that first week of back-to-school either.
Thankfully, we haven’t noticed our children suffering from the same back-to-school angst, yet. But this past April we found out that our precious little Christian school is closing it’s doors due to lagging enrollment and there is a big school change looming on our family’s horizon. So big, in fact, that we don’t quite know what we’ll be doing next fall.
But there are a few things we’re doing to try and smooth the way over the next few months. Whether you’re transitioning from public school to homeschool, middle school to high school, or just moved and your little ones will be heading off to a brand new school, here are some ideas for easing everyone through the changes this Fall.
1. Be calm. Your attitude as a parent sets the tone for everyone’s perception of the situation. Even when things seem crazy, unsettled, or unfair, you can be positive. Be available to listen to their fears, talk with them about their expectations, and understand their hearts–do you see/heart something specific that you can address? Can you guide them in some character growth through this experience? And if they’re excited–great! Just be aware if anything changes over the next few weeks.
2. Be a family. Spend some time this summer bonding as a family. Plan some fun activities together, explore new places, read new books, connect with each other. Let each family member add something to your summer bucket list and put it on the calendar. Take on a summer service project as a family. Our family plants a vegetable garden together every year. It’s a lot of hot, sweaty work, but everyone can bask in the shared accomplishment afterwards as we pass the green beans at dinner! These relationships will give your children stability as they face new situations in the fall.
3. Be connected. Think ahead to what your child’s day will look like next year. How can you stay connected to them while they’re away at school? At the beginning of every school year, we print business cards for each of our children with all of our contact information on them and secure them in a “secret” place inside their backpacks (we use the mp3 player pocket). That way they always know how to get in touch with us. A precious photo could also be easily tucked away. Quick lunchbox notes are a good way to reach out to them during the school day–stock up now.
4. Be engaged. Talk about the new school year. Shop together for new supplies or clothes. Find out about their upcoming curriculum and set some learning goals for the year together, along with a reward system (We like to give points for certain desired grades and behaviors, and points earn funds towards a new book or learning game from the local bookstore.) Give them some low-stress school work over the summer to help them be well-prepared on the first day, or even ahead!
And lastly, don’t quit.
When school starts, continuing being calm, connected, and engaged. Plan fun family activities on the weekends throughout the school year. Look ahead to school holidays and think about ways to make the most of natural breaks in the school year. Interact with your children’s teachers and stay informed on their progress both academically and socially.
And make your home a haven. A place for your children to feel secure and relaxed. A place to lay aside any daily stresses and wiggle their toes in a thick carpet of love. A place to refresh and refill their love tanks. A soft place to land.
- 7 Cost Increases to Prepare For Before Retirement -
- 5 Quick & Easy Dinners for Busy Days -
- Easy Steps to Get and Stay Organized in Under 10 Minutes -
- 5 Ways to Build an Emergency Fund with Very Little Money -
- Creating An Inviting Atmosphere In Your Home -
- Mouth-watering Garlic Herb Cheese Bombs -
- Animals And The Creativity Of God -
- Game Day Recipe Round up! -
- Heart-breaking News and How You Can Help -
- Quick & Easy – Planning For Your Best Day -