Preparing for Back to School
September brings the start of new beginnings for kids, teens, young adults and parents. New beginnings can create excitement, anxieties, and a sense of adventure and personal growth. Below are a couple things to keep in mind during this season:
1. Remember that life is full of change, we will always have new seasons, new challenges, new expectations. We can either embrace this fact or stress over it. Regardless of what we choose to do, the changes will still come. If we learn to be flexible and embrace it we can be much more relaxed in new situations. Remind students of the changes they have already faced in life, that they may not realize–learning to walk, learning to sleep in a “big kid bed”, learning to go to kindergarten, learning to ride a bike. The list goes on, and reminds them that God has made them flexible, resilient and able to handle change.
2. Remember you are able and capable! As we approach new situations, it can be helpful to remember as believers we do not approach any new situation alone. The Lord is with us, He is on our side, He is guiding and directing our footsteps. So as students walk into new classrooms and settings, help them remember they are not walking in alone. The Lord who loves them, who made them, who is “for them”, who values them is on their side and walking in with them.
3. Keep both long and short term perspective. Sometimes we as individuals tend to just focus on the short term perspective; what will I wear to the first day of school, who will I sit with at lunch, I don’t know if I understand all the expectations of a certain class.
Although this perspective is very real, it helps to also balance it with a long term perspective: my outfit the first day of school is just one day, I will be wearing lots of different outfits to school, I have found people in the past to sit with, I will find someone the first day, in time I know I will be able to figure out all that is expected of me in class.
4. For parents in particular, grace, grace, grace to your kids and teens. The reality of starting something new is a bit stressful, so allow some grace towards your kids for the first day or week. Maybe their tone is off, their attitude, their focus, just give them some grace. This, however does not mean allow them to walk all over you or be rude. Acknowledge that you recognize this is a stressful time for them, but that they still need to be respectful.
5. In this new year it is a good time to be asking how can my student increase in the responsibility they take over their schooling, house chores, etc. It is important that we are stretching our students so that when they reach adulthood, they are well able and prepared to be responsible adults. So look at ways to stretch their level of responsibility or independence this year.
6. Love never fails. Above all else the Lord has blessed you with your child, and showing them unconditional love in spite of trials or challenges is our goal. Because, love will never fail, through the strength of love your kids can move into being overcomers, being rooted in confidence in that they are valuable, and that they have people in “their corner”.
By Pam Stinchcomb, LMSW
Desert Streams Therapist