Six conversations to prepare your children for a new school year.

Parents, have you had a chance to catch your breath? Summer is flying by. It’s hard to know anymore if summertime is actually a break for either kids or parents. While balancing your own work schedule, kids have play dates, sports camps, and jobs ... oh my! And just as you begin to settle into that summer routine ... BOOM ... the school year starts again with a vengeance. That’s when you begin looking at the upcoming school year to see how you can prepare your kids for the lions, and tigers, and bears!

I recall being nervous before every new school year. Walking into the school the first day represented starting a new chapter. I instinctively knew it, though I wouldn’t have known to call it that. What I knew was that it represented change. Whether your child is going back to the same school or starting a new one, the new school year means change—new classes, new teachers, and new challenges. Some school years represent even greater challenges because your child’s new grade might mean going to a whole new school.

While some people are more adaptable, change is nevertheless unsettling for everyone. Your home and your family, no matter how small or large, represent a place of security and stability for your child. He or she can work through changes much more easily if they can process their feelings with you.

Parents remember: our first priority is to point our kids to Christ. He is the ultimate place of stability for their lives. But, before the school year begins, we can start talking with our kids and help them prepare for this upcoming change. Here are some statements we can give our children that can lead to great conversations: 

Be Confident in Yourself.
Depending on their maturity, they may or may not understand what it means to be a child of God, or what it means to get our identity from Him. But, you can instill the greatest stabilizing earthly message in their hearts by assuring them they have all it takes to succeed and that God will be faithful to complete His good work in them (Philippians 1:6). 

Be At Peace, You Are Never Alone.
Helping our children understand that God is with them in their new environment is important. He will give them peace and comfort if they will ask him for it. He is a good friend and will never turn his back on them (Hebrews 13:5). 

Be Kind to Others.
I’m convinced that nothing wins people over more than kindness. The Bible even says that it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). If it works for God, then it works for me! I pray over my kids that they will be kind to others and that they will have favor with teachers and students. 

Be Joyful in All Things.
It’s all about attitude. If we can get this one right, then we will be way ahead of the game. Having a joyful attitude should be the leading attitude for believers. It’s a fruit of the Spirit after all (Galatians 5:22)! This statement isn’t meant to ignore the realities of pain and suffering. But if you lead with a conversation about joy, then it will keep that fruit on the forefront of their minds. 

Be Strong in What You Believe.
A great conversation around this is based on Matthew 7:24-27, which talks about two builders: one who builds his house on the rock, and one who builds his on the sand. In both scenarios, the rain descended, the floods came, and winds blew and beat on the houses. But only the house built on a firm foundation will stand. We are teaching our children to make firm the foundations of what they believe, so they can weather the storms of life. 

Be a Leader.
Please hear me, this is regardless of personality type. Your child can be a leader. Not everyone is naturally gifted or even inclined to lead people, but that doesn’t mean you get a pass from being a good influence on the people around you. You can lead by example in the way you conduct your life, the decisions you make, and the people you choose to follow.

Be excited for this new chapter in your children’s lives. Conversations like these will provide a healthy environment in which your kids will grow and thrive!  

For more information on parenting resources at Gateway, visit familylife.gatewaypeople.com