1. Pray over your children before they leave for the day

If you are fortunate to be able to see your kids off, or drop your kids off at school- take 30 seconds to stop and release a quick, meaningful blessing over them. If you work overnight shifts, or leave before your kids- do this at night before bed! This will settle their minds, lend them courage, and increase their sense of security when stress and anxiety come crashing into their day. This small act communicates care and concern and may encourage your kiddos to eventually share their own special and specific prayers, feelings, and concerns.

2. Watch out for comparison!

I like these words from blogger Marshall Segal of Desiring God:

“The classroom naturally nurtures a culture of comparison. Pride can certainly begin before our education, but school’s grades, awards, and social dynamics seem to breed the wrong kind of competition — a self-seeking kind. And this pride clashes with our Savior’s sacrifice like your dad’s white socks and his favorite sandals.”

There is nothing wrong with healthy competition and wanting to do things with excellence, but comparison can steal our joy and breed shame that distorts our children’s perspective of self, others, and God. Talk to your kids about this issue and how to prevent it from turning into prideful behavior. 

3. Teach values at home that they can use at school

Here are five big ones:

  1. Honesty– encouraging truthfulness. It is up to us to teach our children to tell the truth (most of this is done through our modeling!)
  2. Consideration– teaching them to think about other’s feelings and offering genuine acts of “no strings attached” kindness
  3. Determination/Resilience– helping them to see the merit in taking a challenge head-on
  4. Justice– insisting on making amends and practicing forgiveness
  5. Love– modeling and communicating to them the importance of being generous with their affection and demonstrations of love

4. Send some love to school!

Give your kids a mid-day reminder that they are loved and help them make their day feel really special. On the first day of school, when they have a big test, or just because, send a special note in their lunch box, adding a toy or candy, if the school permits it. Space these intentional gestures out- they will feel more meaningful this way (rather than doing this daily). This will make them smile and may promote generosity and thoughtfulness towards their peers.

5. Make a day or night during the week just for fun

As you get into a rhythm and routine, don’t forget to prioritize quality time at least once a week (as a whole family and/or one on one with each child). It’s easy to get disconnected, anxious, and frustrated with all of the academic, sports-related, and extracurricular activities going on. But having a craft night, movie night, or just a night to go on a bike ride that your child can look forward to can really keep them get excited for a new week.

Do YOU have ideas that you could share with us? We would love if you’d take a minute to do so! Please share for other readers and parents looking to begin this year with confidence, intentionality, and excitement.