How to make the most of the start of the school year

Back to school means back to sports, homework, parent teacher conferences, bus rides, and so much more. For stay-at-home parents, you go from having endless time to connect with your kids to having them in school for 6+ hours a day. For working parents, it means your kids have extra demands on their time, cutting down on the precious hours you get to spend with them.

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So, how do we stay connected with our kids despite the schedule adjustments and change of pace that comes with school? How do we make the most of the moments while helping our kids steward their time well? How do we handle day-to-day battles like homework, chores, and relationships without causing frustration and division?

The bottom line is that there is no easy, "one-size fits all" solution. What works for one child might not work for another. Each child is uniquely made by God and requires a unique parent-child relationship.

The start of a new school year is a great time to renew your commitment to continually learning about your child and developing a parenting style that helps them grow and stay connected with you. Whether you and your child fight every day, or you’ve never fought a day in your life, we can always work on becoming better, more kingdom-minded parents.

Take a minute and brainstorm these three questions:

1. What is one age-appropriate area I want my child to improve in this school year?

An age appropriate goal might be, getting your child to start doing weekly chores or saying please and thank you. Whether it’s a behavior, habit or attitude, an age-appropriate goal should stretch your child without going beyond their physical and mental abilities. For example, you wouldn’t expect your three year old to clear the dinner table by themselves, but you could expect them to wait for their turn to talk to an adult.

On the flip side, you would be doing your teenager a disservice to focus on a goal they can easily master, like saying please and thank you, but you would be setting them up for success by helping them establish and keep a daily prayer and Bible reading routine. Whatever you pick, evaluate it frequently and work with your child until they have mastered that area!

2. What is one stress area in my relationship with my child? How can I work to navigate this area without compromising on my standards or needs?

A stress area is  topic of conversation or a task that consistently causes tension between you and your child. It could be chores, homework, or something else entirely. (For more on this, check out Brittney Sherpell’s link below) These areas need to be managed in order to help us stay connected with our kids and to help them develop the habits and attitudes necessary to succeed later in life.

3. How can I focus on intentionally creating opportunities for connection in the middle of the business of back-to-school?

Between schoolwork, fall activities and sporting events, there is plenty to do and little time to do it! As parents, we have the responsibility of creating moments to connect with our kids. Whether that means scheduling out your weekends so you can go apple picking or take a walk by the lake, settle in your mind that you will connect with your kids and always grow in your relationship with them!

Maybe you have some ideas on how you can answer these questions, but odds are, you are looking for some guidance. Here are two of my favorite parenting resources to help you start the school year strong.

Some of my favorite materials for parents come from Loving on Purpose, a group founded by Bethel Redding Pastor Danny Silk. His daughter Brittany provides brief, daily trips for parents on Facebook Live. She covers everything from temper tantrums to her most recent teaching, winning the homework battle!

I especially love her Facebook page because it’s not complicated; it doesn’t take a long time. You can pull up one of her teachings when you leave the house and be done by the time you get to school for pick-up. Parents, for a daily dose of encouragement, check out her page on Facebook!

theparentcue.org has some amazing blogs about parenting and helping your child grow through a Biblical lens. It also coordinates with our current curriculum and provides information on how to connect with your kids throughout the week while reviewing what they learned on Sunday. To get started, check out their back to school article, 3 Ways to Survive the Back to School Season.

As always, if you have any questions or if you want help leading your family, you can see your Campus Ultra Kids Director! We would love to partner with you and see you be the amazing parent that God made you to be!