Back-to-School: Helping Your Kids Adjust to the Change
Every child loves summer vacation. They’re free from schoolwork. They can wake up as late as they want to. And they are free to hang out with their friends on weekdays. Summer vacation is genuinely one of the most exciting parts of every child’s year and holds a special place in every child’s heart.
Yet, the inevitable end of summer must come with the onset of a new school year – a transition time that can spark excitement and anxiety in your little ones. None of us as parents want the start of the school year to fill our house with cranky children.
Utilize the tips below to minimize the sting of returning to school on your children.
Unveil the New Adventures and make the change exciting.
To many of your children, back is just the beginning of another boring school year. However, as a parent, you can’t help but marvel at the speed your babies are maturing! Help them see what you see by reminding them of all the opportunities that will soon be available in the new school year.
Every new grade level comes with new subjects to explore, new learning skills, and fresh opportunities to make friends. Talk to your children about these exciting aspects. Maybe they can join a club, engage in a sport, or participate in a school play for the first time. Perhaps they’ll get to delve into a topic they’ve shown interest in, like dinosaurs, outer space, or art. Focusing on these possibilities can help shift their perspective from apprehension to anticipation.
With the start of the new school year, it’s easy to make the mistake of focusing only on academics. Yet we know that education alone does not make for a well-rounded, healthy life. In the life of Jesus, we see that He “…grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” (Luke 2:52 N.L.T.) We must help our children grow this way and continue to grow in our lives.
So here is a simple plan to help you work with your kids to ensure their success for this school year and life. Start by discussing what they hope to achieve in the upcoming school year. Setting goals will help them look forward to the new academic year with purpose and motivation. Whether improving their grades, making a new friend, or joining a club, having a goal can make the transition more exciting.
Setting holistic goals with your children is a vital process that goes beyond the academic sphere. It encompasses their physical, emotional, and spiritual growth as well.
Physical growth and development are as significant as intellectual and spiritual growth during your child’s school years. Setting physical goals can help your kids understand the importance of maintaining a healthy body, and it can also be a fun way to encourage them to engage in physical activities.
Start by discussing with your child about their interests in physical activities. Do they enjoy swimming, bicycling, or perhaps a sport like soccer or basketball? Or maybe they want to learn dance, martial arts, or gymnastics? Once you know their interest, help them set specific physical goals. For instance, they could aim to learn how to swim freestyle before all the pools close in the fall or strive to join the school’s basketball team.
Remember, it’s essential to ensure these goals are realistic and achievable. They should be challenging enough to motivate your child but not too difficult that they become discouraging.
To make the process more engaging, actively involve yourself in your child’s physical activities. This could include playing a sport together, riding a family bike, or encouraging them during their practices. Participating in physical activities together helps your child achieve their physical goals and strengthens your bond with them.
Furthermore, celebrating small victories along the way is critical to keeping your child motivated. Acknowledge their progress, no matter how small it seems. This will instill a sense of accomplishment and fuel their motivation to continue working towards their goals.
In the end, physical goals are not just about being physically fit. They’re about instilling a sense of discipline, understanding the value of persistence, and enjoying learning something new.
Intellectual goals are a noteworthy aspect that goes hand in hand with academic objectives. They target the nurturing of critical thinking skills, creativity, curiosity, and a genuine love for learning beyond the confines of the classroom.
For instance, your child may have an academic goal of achieving an ‘A’ in mathematics. However, an intellectual goal might be for them to understand and appreciate how mathematical concepts apply in real-world contexts – such as budgeting personal finances, calculating distances, or even understanding natural patterns.
Setting intellectual goals helps children see the broader value of their education and can instill a lifelong love of learning. Engage them in conversations about current events, encourage them to ask questions and seek answers, or challenge them to solve puzzles and riddles. These activities stimulate intellectual development and make learning more enjoyable and personally rewarding for your kids.
Remember, fostering intellectual growth isn’t about pushing children to their limits but helping them realize their potential and the joys of learning.
Emotional health is a cornerstone of overall well-being, particularly in the transformative years of childhood and adolescence. It is crucial to guide your children toward establishing emotionally healthy goals during the back-to-school season.
Firstly, discuss their feelings and thoughts about school, friends, teachers, and general day-to-day experiences. Encourage them to express openly whether they are feelings of excitement, worry, or confusion. This will foster a safe space for emotional expression and provide valuable insight into their emotional world.
Setting emotional goals can be as simple as learning to identify and name different feelings or as complex as developing strategies for managing intense emotions. For example, if your child is anxious about making friends, a possible goal could be to initiate a conversation with one new classmate each week. If they struggle with disappointment, they could aim to identify one positive aspect of a disappointing situation.
Remember, emotional health involves both navigating complicated feelings and cultivating positive ones. Encourage your kids to identify activities or practices that bring them joy and peace. It could be spending time in nature, reading a book, playing a musical instrument, or practicing mindfulness.
Engage with your children in these activities and make them a part of your routine. This provides an opportunity to nurture positive emotions and strengthens your bond with them.
Acknowledge your child’s efforts and successes in achieving their emotional goals, however small they may seem. This recognition boosts their esteem and motivates them to continue their emotional growth journey.
Regarding emotional health, please remind your children that it’s okay to make mistakes and experience setbacks. Emphasize that emotional growth involves learning from these experiences and moving forward. The goal is not to be perfect but to become progressively more skilled in managing and understanding their emotions.
Spirituality plays a significant role in your child’s overall development and well-being. Helping your child set spiritual goals nurtures their inner self but also helps them develop a greater sense of purpose, empathy, and compassion. It allows you to train and equip them to understand values and beliefs, encouraging them to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives.
Setting spiritual goals could involve a range of activities. It could be as simple as praying before meals, reading the Bible or other spiritual books together, and discussing the virtues of kindness, honesty, and respect. It could also involve more structured practices like participating in church services and perhaps serving together at church.
Remember, attaining spiritual goals isn’t about following rules and regulations. Instead, it’s about fostering a healthy relationship with God, our Loving heavenly Father, through Jesus. It’s about helping your child understand that god created them with a purpose and a plan that, as they live, will not only make the world a better place but help them to live a life of fulfillment and satisfaction.
As parents, you play a vital role in guiding your child on this spiritual journey. Your actions, words, and attitudes serve as a model for your child. Therefore, engaging in spiritual practices with your child helps them reach their spiritual goals and reinforces your own spiritual journey.
By now, you may have realized that the four areas for healthy goals spell out the word P.I.E.S. A simple way to remember how God has created us as physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual beings.
The Proverbs writer tells us:
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6 (N.L.T.)
As parents, we must help direct our kids on the right path in balancing their physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual lives. That’s a big job! But never fear. You are not on this journey alone.
Remember, you are not alone.
At Alive Church, we partner with you in guiding your children through their spiritual journey. We firmly believe in the power of collaborative efforts in fostering deep-rooted spiritual growth in children. Our unique ministry, One Voice, embodies this partnership. Through One Voice, your children are learning the same Biblical principles each weekend that you are learning but in an age-appropriate environment. This is our way of partnering with you as parents. You can rest assured that you know what your kids have learned from scripture each week, and you will be prepared to help guide them in those spiritual and biblical principles simply by participating in service yourself.
With our One Voice strategy, we partner to engage you and your children in meaningful biblical and spiritual dialogues. We provide the alignment of teachings each week in the age-appropriate environment and the take-home resources for you and your children to incorporate into everyday life, making your spiritual journey with God real.
Goodbye summer, hello school year!
As we bid farewell to the carefree days of summer and welcome the structured routine of the school year, remember that you are a guidepost in your child’s journey through life. Though balancing physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth might seem daunting, take heart in knowing that you’re not alone. Your child will be well-equipped to handle the challenges and joys ahead with your love, guidance, and partnership Alvie Church offers and our One Voice strategy. Journeying together, we can ensure this school year becomes a milestone in their overall growth and development.