Back to School – Don’t Forget These Tips!

Posted on August 13, 2019

It’s that time of the year again! As excited as we are when summer holidays arrive, we are equally jazzed about the kids going back to school so we can return to some routine. This bittersweet time comes with its fair share of pre-back-to-school-madness, however. I still vividly remember the new clothes, backpacks, books, shoes, lunch boxes, locker decals, stationary…the list goes on and on.

Parents feel the stress of getting all that done before school starts. After that come the worries about new teachers, new schedules, and new classes, just to start.

If kids are young, parents are thinking…

Will my children eat well?

Will they take naps?

Will they be able to sit still?

Will they listen?

Will the teacher be a good match for their personalities?

And if they’re older, you’re probably wondering…

Will my children be able to cope with more homework?

Will they like their new teachers?

Will they be influenced by peers?

Will they make the sports teams they are hoping for?

Will they get the classes they need?

Will they be bullied?

Will they get good grades? 

I’ve undoubtedly missed a laundry list of other parental concerns. Nevertheless, I’d like you to take a step back and put yourself in your child’s shoes for a few minutes. I guarantee that your fears are theirs as well. Each one of us remembers what going back to school felt like. Did our parents ever stop to ask us if we felt ready and prepared? What were our worries and fears?

Times have changed. We are living at a time when emotional intelligence and mindful, conscious parenting are prevalent topics. Research has revealed that children who are more mindful and emotionally intelligent are more likely to succeed than even those with a high IQ. But the seeds of mindfulness are sowed at home. Why not shift your questions to…

Do I communicate effectively with my children?

Do I feel connected to them?

Am I spending enough time with them?

Do they like spending time with me?

Will they come to me when they have something on their mind?

Will they turn to me when they are in trouble?

If the answer to these questions is yes, you can let go of your worries. We cannot solve our children’s issues, shelter our kids from hurtful experiences, prevent them from making wrong decisions or undo their missteps. What we can do is support them, provide a safe haven, and build solid lasting connections and relationships with them. If we are uncommitted or inconsistent, how can we be there for our children? This work starts and ends with us, not the teacher or the school. A young person’s inner strength is built at home—by us, the parents.

So drop the “You better get good grades” and switch to “Do the best you can.” Forget “How will your actions make me look” and offer “How can I help you and support you.” Do away with “Follow my way” and encourage the youngsters with “You lead the way.” Most of all, erase the “Let me protect you so you don’t fall” and replace it with “Let me hold you when—not if—you do.”

And if you have a hard time communicating these thoughts to your kids, start by reading this post to them and telling them that it expresses your true intention— because I know it does!

In the last two weeks alone, too many families have been devastated by violent acts in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio. If those events don’t remind us of the gift of life and family, what will?

Our children are precious cargo that we carry through life. We brought them into this world, and our first responsibility is to see them through it with love, care, and connection. That is the message that should be playing in your mind along with the long list of to-dos. So before kids go back to school, take a minute, a few hours, or a full day to let them know how dear they are to you. Then let them carry that music in their hearts—not just during the coming school year but through the rest of their lives.