Hey, this is Jenn & Laura with First Faith. In the month of August we are exploring the power of Encouragement. As former teachers (and students for that matter), we are especially aware of the stress and anxiety that often comes with the start of school. So we brainstormed a few ideas to encourage the student in your life. According to a Harvard study, 96% of kids express feeling stressed or anxious about school.
Here are a few ideas we have put together that will help both you and your student be confident and prepared to start a brand new year off strong. Pick and choose, or try to complete all 10! As always, post about your experiences and what went well – be sure to tag us @real1stfaith. We love hearing your stories and the memories you make together. Back to school can be a fun and exciting time with just a few intentional experiences from us as parents. Together, let’s make it a great year!
10 Tips for Back to School Success
- 1. Give your student the gift of sleep. Studies show that a lack of sleep alters our mood and perception of events.
- 2. Try to create stress free mornings. Get clothes and supplies ready the night before, wake up in plenty of time, and don’t be late on the first day of school.
- If time allows, eat breakfast together. A good breakfast ensures better thinking and a better mood. If you don’t have time to eat together, have something ready as your student walks out the door.
- Make time in the evenings, especially during the first week or two, to relax…
- Have a spa night where you draw up a bath for your kiddo, turn on their favorite music, light a candle, and let them soak in the tub.
- Enjoy a movie night. Grab some popcorn and Click Here at Common Sense Media for a list of school themed movies. A personal favorite is Wonder.
- Enjoy a family game night.
- Words of support, can be a great way to encourage a student. Sneak notes with phrases like, “you got this”, “don’t forget to smile”, into their backpack, purse, car, or lunchbox. You could even leave them a note on the bathroom mirror! Click on this DOWNLOAD of pre-made cards or use post-it notes.
- Surprise them with a food they love in their snack or lunch box. Use a permanent marker to leave a happy note on the packaging. If they are a teen, surprise them with a gift card for coffee or ice cream.
- Take real time to talk each day.. Sometimes we just need a moment of still before we open up about what went right and wrong in our day. When things are chaotic and we just throw out a how was your day, it doesn’t provide real space to open up when things were difficult. Give your student that time.
- Often, especially with younger students, speaking up and introducing oneself to new friends and classmates can be challenging. Give your student the tools they need for success by coaching him or her on basic social skills like a firm handshake, introducing oneself, and asking questions confidently when they are unsure. Encourage your child to reach out when they need help. This will help them be confident even when you aren’t around!
- Organize a fun back to school pictures session at a place your student loves, such as a favorite ice cream place or the library. Let your student be the boss in terms of outfit, props, and location. This is a time for your student to take control of going back to school time, without a list or agenda from mom or the school. Have fun with it!
- Read a favorite book and spend time praying with your student the night before school. Again, let your student choose the book and even allow them to guide prayer time. This can be a valuable time set aside for your student to express concerns, release emotions, and feel fresh and ready for that big first day. Don’t rush this time with them!
If you don’t have a student of your own, encourage students you know through your community, church, or neighborhood. We know a number of students in our lives that are returning to school, so we took some time to write and send cards to support them. We invite you to join us in doing this! Click here to download our student encouragement card template and personalize it to make it your own.
Here’s to loving and encouraging kids everywhere!
Laura & Jenn