The start of a new school year is an exciting time for many, but it can also stir up apprehension and anxiety even in the most confident child. Over the years, I have seen firsthand how the fear of the unknown can steal the joy of going back to school.
My little ones have wondered if old friendships will pick up where they left off or if they’ll like their new teachers. They dread having homework, especially in subjects they struggle with or don’t enjoy.
In the book, School Time Blessings, the Berenstain Bear cubs battle the same fears. Mama and Papa Bear remind their cubs that when they worry, they should turn to God in prayer and that God’s love is always with them to guide and give them strength.
I sought the Lord, and He answered me;
He delivered me from all my fears. — Psalm 34:4
If your kids are anything like Brother, Sister and Honey Bear they may need a little encouragement to help get them through the back-to-school transition. While the Word of God is the most powerful tool we have in combating fear and anxiety, we can do a few things to help our kids prepare for their first few days of school.
Here are six tips to help our kids during the back-to-school season:
Explain to them their new schedule.
We can help anxious hearts by telling our kids when school begins and ends, what programs they’ll participate in, and what subjects they’ll cover.
Ask them about their feelings.
A few weeks before school starts we can talk with our kids about what they are excited about and what they are concerned about, so we can have a better idea how to encourage them. Read and memorize back to school scriptures
Connect them with other students.
Before school starts, we can arrange for our child to get together with friends a week or two before school starts to remind them how much fun spending time together is. If possible, we can even arrange for them to carpool, walk to school, or ride together on the bus.
Get them excited for what the school year offers.
We can inform our kids about after-school activities, clubs, or classes that they can participate in.
Create a back to school tradition.
Another great idea is to plan an event or an activity that celebrates the return to school such as a back to school party or ice cream after the first day. When children have something fun to look forward to it often takes the edge off what they are worried about.
Leave a note in their lunchbox or backpack.
A few words from mom or dad in the middle of the day will reaffirm that we parents are thinking of them while they’re at school. Scripture cards will remind them that God is with them, and that His wisdom and understanding is available to them. [You can also find Verses that Stick post-it note style Scriptures to use on their lunchboxes throughout the year].
No matter how we choose to help our kids prepare for their first few days of school, it’s important that we be proactive, encourage them, and equip them with the Word of God. By doing this we will be setting them up for success in overcoming apprehension and anxiety they may encounter in the future.
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How do you prepare your children for the back-to-school season? Let us know what’s worked for you or what your biggest challenges are. We’d love to hear from you in the comments!