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Help your child adjust & thrive during the new school year, 3 tips for navigating success
Thursday, August 17, 2023 by Doreen Wennberg

By the time of this posting, some families are getting ready to end their summer break. For others, the school year has begun as families have transitioned from the lazy days of summer to the start of a new school year. New teachers, new friends, and even a different routine can cause any child some anxiousness—including the homeschooler who meets new teachers and friends through co-ops.

The school year will also add extra activities, sports, lessons, homework, and maybe tutoring sessions into the schedule. Kids can go from summer boredom to instant overload overnight.

While most kids are excited for the new start, others may be apprehensive.

Helping your child navigate the unfamiliar

Moving from one grade to another, particularly preschool to kindergarten, elementary to middle, or middle to high school, all present unknown territories.

What new fears might these situations bring up? Changing classes for the first time, not knowing anyone, being separated from their friends, past bullying, pressure to make the team, or any other situations they encounter can strike fear within.

Many families have moved during the last few years, and transplants from other cities are everywhere.

The new school year can be overwhelming for any child, but the new kid on the block may be slightly more anxious to navigate unfamiliar surroundings.

Whether your child is starting preschool, High School or somewhere in between, you can help them navigate unfamiliar territory with three PR’s.  Pray, Prep, and Provide.

Pray:

Take a few minutes to pray the night before with your child. Perhaps this is a habit that your family already practices. If not, know that your prayers model dependence on God, help to comfort, and calm your child’s fears. Prayer also teaches them that when fear strikes again, they can call on God in the moment to help them, and know that they are not alone.

Pray with scripture to help them remember God’s word. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 NLT). Knowing that God is always with them when you cannot—can be a great comfort to your child.

Listen for what to pray about as they tell you about their day. The pressure to perform and succeed can take a toll, and many children lack confidence. Your child will remember your encouragement through your prayers for them. “We can go to God with bold confidence through faith in Christ” (Ephesians 3:12 GW).

Keep a list of their requests to pray every night. Add to the list and check off when they see answers to your prayers—and praise God with them!

Preparation: preparing ahead is always the key to success. Prep may be a no-brainer, but getting everyone else on board with the swing of things may take some maneuvering.

Does your child lack organization? Include that in your prayer steps. Help them make a list. So that they can see what they need to do; and check it off once done. If they are responsible for picking out clothes, making their lunch, and packing their backpack once homework is complete, have them check it off at bedtime. They might even add helping to prep breakfast items in advance. The reward of a smoother path on busy mornings is sweet!

Provide:

Support - No matter the age or grade, change in routines can be disruptive, it may be hard to know how to support your child when they seem overwhelmed.

Check-in. Have one-on-one intentional conversations in the car; or after dinner to ask them about their feelings. Pray and ask God to open them up. Encourage conversation to share any fears or concerns they may have. Be a good listener and allow them to vent when needed.

Time to relax. Provide downtime for your child to unwind, preferably without electronics. Practicing self-care is important for everyone in the family. Evening walks after dinner are a great way to unwind, provide fresh air and exercise, while providing opportunities for conversation—everyone benefits.

Adding a few or all of these “PR’s” can help your children transition and successfully navigate a new school year.

 

Father, thank you for the gift of prayer and the reminder that You are always with us. Help my prayers model my dependence on You and comfort my child. Give them an understanding of the verses we pray together, and bring these scriptures to their memory when they face uncertain situations. Give them boldness and confidence to call upon You in every circumstance.

Help us prepare and organize, and enable us to have family downtime often. ~We ask these things in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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