Well, it’s that time of year again…SCHOOL TIME!! Some parents are thrilled that their kids are finally going to be out of the house, while others are broken-hearted that they will miss out on much needed quality time with them. Money seems to be flying everywhere – school fees, supplies, clothes, shoes, lunch boxes….it just keeps adding up. While all of these “things” are necessary, there are plenty of back to school needs that money can’t buy.
More than children need the $300 worth of new clothing and the newest backpack, they need us, their parents, to engage them everyday. They need to know that we are the safe soft place for them to land when they fall. They need to hear us speaking life into them when the world around them is so negative. They need us to put our cell phones down, look them in the eye, and really listen when they speak to us. They need us to discipline them. They need us to provide structure, safety, forgiveness, unconditional love, and so much more! While I haven’t mastered any of these things, I do work diligently on a daily basis to be the best mother I can be, and that’s what matters. Our kids know (probably better than anyone else) that we don’t have it all together, but they also know when we’re trying our hardest to be good parents.
The school year is now upon us, and hopefully your family has a plan in place. If not, maybe these thoughts and ideas will be helpful to you.
1. Simplify your mornings by doing these things the night before: pack lunches, lay out clothes and shoes, organize backpacks and place them at the door, decide what you’ll be fixing for breakfast…By doing these things ahead of time, the morning will go much smoother.
- Have a morning and afternoon schedule posted in each child’s room. Kids won’t admit it, but they thrive on structure. Let them help make their schedule as this also gives them some responsibility and they’ll take more ownership.
- Have a Bible verse of the day or week that you talk about each morning during breakfast or on the way to school. Choose verses that kids can apply to their daily life. Then have a special time of prayer together.
- Ask your children very specific questions about their day – everyday! Ask who, what, when, where, why, and how questions. Sometimes the “how” questions are the most important. For example, “How did it make you feel when…?”
- Have a family devotional time on Sunday evenings to help prepare for the week ahead. Here’s a link to an article called “49 Godly Character Qualities”. http:// http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/?s=49+Godly+Character+qualities This would be a good place to start and will get you through most of the year. It’s important to give our kids a focus for every week, and for you help them learn how to implement these qualities at school.
- Eat at the dinner table together and leave the cell phones silenced in another room. This is important! I could go on and on about all of the reasons this is necessary, but that’s a whole other blog.
- Speak life into your children everyday. Remind them who they are in Christ, who they are to you, their siblings, and their teachers and friends. They need to know they are loved children of God with a purpose. You’re their greatest influence! Your words and opinions of them speak the loudest and resonate the longest in their minds.
- Have a bed time. Studies show that children don’t get enough rest. Children ages 3-12 need 10-12 hours of sleep every night, and teenagers need a minimum of 9 hours. When children don’t get enough rest they suffer – focus, attention, behavior, etc is greatly affected.
- A teenagers job is to be a full-time student – and it’s difficult. Please prayerfully consider whether your teenager should have another job, even part-time, especially if your child is involved in extracurricular activities and/or taking advanced classes. There are many ways to teach responsibility without adding a job into the mix.
- And last, but certainly not least, help your child make church a priority. They will follow your lead as parents. Being an active participator in a church family is important, and it’s our job to teach this by example. If your children are missing church on a regular basis because of sports, work, extracurricular activities, etc you may want to re-evaluate this matter. Consider what your stance on this teaches your children and others about priorities.
Parenting is no joke. Some days we fail epically, and other days we should be given the parent of the year award. Thankfully, because God is on our side we have all of the help we need. He’s given us his Word, each other, and Godly leaders to guide as we do this parenting thing. We must pray daily for discernment, wisdom, and a heart to love our precious children through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Our most important job as parents is to raise up men and women that love God and serve Him alone. While the task at hand may be a difficult one at times, it’s also the most rewarding! Children are and gift from God…Enjoy them!
“You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.
Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.
And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
In His Grip,