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Back to School
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I came home to an empty house this morning. It’s our daughter’s first day back to school. On this day every year I have mixed feelings. Although I’m always excited for her, there’s still that feeling of nostalgia that our summer days together are gone for another year.

I find that much of her attitude toward a new school year depends on my husband’s and my attitude as parents. Here are some tips we’ve found helpful for getting kids off to school with the best possible start:


1. Reschedule bedtime. A week before school starts, send your child to bed 15 minutes earlier every night, until you’re at the normal school bedtime.

2. Get back-to-school supplies and clothes shopping done early. There’s nothing like being ready ahead of time. And since many supplies sell out quickly, it pays to shop even weeks ahead.

3. Visit your child’s school together. Most schools are open a week or two before they start. Teachers are there early, too. This is a good time to get new students aquatinted with the building and teachers, and to bring back familiar feelings to returning students.

4. Act excited and be supportive. Talk over the fun things your child has to look forward to this year, such as seeing old friends again, school outings, his or her favorite subject, sports, etc. Also talk over and resolve any anxieties.

5. Have a "back-to-school talk." The night before a new school year, my husband and I lovingly share our expectations with our daughter. We ask that she do her best scholastically, rather than insist on a certain grade. We ask that she be respectful to her teachers as well as friendly to all students. Most importantly, we encourage her to remember WWJD. "What Would Jesus Do?"

6. Be prepared. Have your child’s backpack packed and clothes chosen the night before to avoid last minute stressful searches.

7. Fix his or her favorite breakfast. Let them choose a favorite healthy breakfast for the first morning, and have it waiting when they wake up.

8. Pray. What better way to start the new school year than with a family prayer? Pray for help with studies, friends, standing up to peer pressure, etc. Also remember the teachers.

Today our daughter begins her eighth-grade year. She’s growing up—fast. Crayons and markers have been substituted with mechanical pencils and Sharpies; ponytail ribbons replaced with a straightening iron; cute lunch pails traded for brown paper bags; and clothes I used to help choose changed into stylish choices of her own.

The school years go by so quickly, yet they’re such an important part of childhood. They’re also vital to our childrens’ futures as adults. Let’s help them achieve success and come away with life-long memories. Before we know it, those cute little outfits—or jeans and a shirt—will be traded in for a cap and gown.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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