The summer has flown by, and the beginning of a new school year is just around the corner. Although kids are still enjoying the summer moments, wise parents will make a few basic preparations that will ready their children for a profitable school year.
Below are ten practical tips—shared from a pastor’s heart and a dad/granddad’s perspective—that will help you help your student.
- Begin praying for your student’s teachers and classmates. Ask the Lord to give the teachers wisdom and discernment. Spend a few minutes with your child each day to pray for their teachers and classmates by name. This is always a good habit, and it is especially helpful when conflict arises to help your child keep a tender heart toward others.
- Begin weaning your student off excessive television and social media. “Excessive” tends to mean different things to different families, but most families can safely assume that whatever media their children are consuming through the summer is too much for the school year. Begin paring it down so your child doesn’t go through “media withdrawal” or have trouble with concentration and focus when school begins.
- Have your student read a good book. There’s something about reading that just helps to reengage the brain! Help your child find a book in a subject they are interested in, and help to get them back into the habit of enjoyable reading.
- Schedule your student to go to bed at a regular, healthy time. Almost all children get off schedule through the summer months. Now is the time to help your elementary-age and teenage children get their bodies back into a routine of falling asleep early enough to get good rest.
- Begin getting your student up at the time that will be normal for the school year. If late bedtimes are the norm for the summer, no doubt late rising has also become the norm. Determine what time your child will need to rise during the school year, and practice the morning schedule with them—beginning with getting up at a set time. Not only is rising promptly a good habit, but tardiness at school is detrimental both for your student and their teachers.
- Establish a healthy diet and regular meal patterns. Having gone full circle with four children of our own and now grandchildren, I am convinced that children’s sleep and diet heavily influence their behavior. Carefully evaluate your family’s meals and food choices. Prepare nutritious food for your children. Rather than nibbling all day long, make sure they are getting regular meals each day. Don’t make your kids have to detox from excessive sugar and soda the first week of school!
- Shop for school supplies. Check with your school’s office for a list of items your child will need. Shopping for them with your child will help build positive anticipation for the coming school year. Purchasing them ahead of time will provide for less scrambling just before school begins.
- Prepare school clothes. Now is the time to be sure your child has appropriate school clothes that aren’t worn, torn, or stained. Read the school handbook for particular clothing requirements, and prepare your student’s closet with washed and pressed school-ready clothing.
- Begin praying that your student will grow spiritually through this school year. At Lancaster Baptist School, we have an opening week revival for the 7th–12th grades. We pray that the services of this week help our students choose to tender their hearts to the Lord and to realign their walk with Him. In whatever school your child studies, pray for their spiritual growth during the year. Pray for those who will influence them, and pray that they will see God work in their heart and life through the coming year.
- Communicate questions or needs with the school office. Begin thinking through any questions or needs you can already foresee for the opening days or weeks of the school year. Call or email the school staff to get as many questions answered ahead of time as possible.
These tips are pretty basic, but I can guarantee that if you take a few minutes to make sure you’ve covered all of them, they will help your student have a better year.