Family Ministry

advice, thoughts, and discussion

And they’re off…..to school again

on July 31, 2012

I remember being 5 on the night before my first day of kindergarten. I was so anxious and scared for all of the uncertainties of being in school that I couldn’t sleep. I was put to bed at 9:00 (my parents always let me stay up later than the other kids), Called for my dad at 9:15, 9:30, 10:00, and on and on it went until I finally found my way into my parents room at midnight and slept on their bedroom floor next to the foot of their bed.

I woke up the next morning with a tummy ache and was sure that I wouldn’t make any friends. But, by the end of the day, I loved my teacher, had a bunch of friends, and decided that school wasn’t that bad of a place to be. I continued to become anxious at times and even doubted myself, but I never had too much of a problem.

I do wonder – how do our kids feel when they go back to school? I know some of the kids in my ministry are excited, some are nervous, and some seem to even be scared to go back to school – especially the kids who struggle with reading, writing, or making friends. I thought since school is right around the corner (especially for us in Indiana), I would take a look at some articles and think about how we can help our kids with different issues that they face in school.

A Practical Approach to Bullies:

Focus on the Family gives us some pretty good ideas on how to prepare your kids for bullying (let’s face it – it happened to all of us) and how bullying can be handled once it’s happened. Here are some ideas – role-play bullying situations, talk through the details of what bullying is or can be, and discuss strategies for kids in bullying situations (tell an adult, avoid/walk away, deflect/use humor, take a stand without becoming violent). Remind kids – “Be strong and courageous,” Moses encouraged God’s people (Deuteronomy 31:6). “Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Anxiety about school:

“The first thing you can do to help your children make it through “new school year anxiety” is to validate their feelings. Many kids can’t articulate why they feel apprehensive. Instead, they simply start showing physical signs of anxiety such as changes in eating and sleeping patterns, moodiness or irritation.”

Ask your children questions regarding their feelings about the school year starting. You might even ask what your children are most excited and most nervous about. Then, explain that it is normal to feel jitters before school starts. These feelings will most likely not be going away any time soon, but this will help kids acknowledge the feelings and get past them.

Struggles with academics:

You have a few options here. You could: 1- try to help your kids on your own, by making up fun and creative games to help them along – or- 2- you could get your kids professional help with teachers at their school or at another teaching or mentoring institution. And remember parents, just because your child is having difficulties in learning does not mean they are not intelligent or that they will always be behind. If you see your child struggling, get them help! Don’t ignore the problem and hope it goes away.

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