Count Down Those Back-to-School Blues
by Carol McAdams Moore
Whether attending a public school, a Christian school or home-schooled, the countdown is happening. It is back-to-school time.
School supplies fill the shelves of stores. Families shop for deals on clothing and shoes . . . And some young students are less than enthusiastic about the approaching season.
How can a family beat the back-to-school blues?
Revisit Summer Fun
Do more than talk about the fun times of summer. Plan some summer fun do-overs. Granted, your family can’t jump in the car and travel again to the beach, but you can enjoy the memories.
If you did vacation at the beach, declare a beach day. Dress the part . . . no shoes, just flip flops; cool by the water, even if it is the neighborhood pool; enjoy some beach-side favorite foods; take time as a family to look over the pictures and trinkets you collected in your stay.
Maybe you didn’t vacation at the beach. Recreate the fun of your vacation location—camping in the woods, hiking in the mountains, visiting museums in the city or braving amusement park rides.
Does your family enjoy a summer pastime? Devote a day to it. Make sure you attend one more ball game, hang out at the pool or enjoy Dad’s burgers on the grill.
Perhaps your favorite thing about summer is the lazy part of lazy, hazy summer days. Declare a sleep pants, vegging out kind of day. No schedules. No chores. Just relaxing time with the family to watch movies or play games.
Check Off that Bucket List
Does your summer wish list still have lots of entries? Summer does slip by quickly. Explain that each family member should jot down a list of things they wish they had done. Then choose one thing for each person to enjoy before the school bell rings in a few weeks. This does not have to be costly. Very often a cherished activity involves time with others.
Get Connected with Friends
Summer is a busy time. Often, friends are so busy with family, traveling and activities that they have little time to just hang out with friends.
Plan time to connect with school friends or those in home-school activities. Talking with others who share a common experience can alleviate some of the nervousness of an approaching event.
Include the new kid on the block. Invite the child or teen who moved into the area over the summer. Being a guide for someone else fosters empathy and builds confidence. It naturally encourages looking for the good in a situation.
Experience Learning Fun
Chalk up some time for learning. Getting excited about learning new things is a great way to beat the end-of-summer blues.
Make a trip to the library to stock up on favorite reads. If your 10-year-old can’t get enough of reading biographies about Abraham Lincoln, let him check out as many titles as he can carry home.
Immerse your budding artist in time to create. Pull out the paints, and let her get lost in her masterpieces.
Allow time to build, or sew, or cook, or garden. Include books in the learning, and remember to let kids use the appropriate tools when supervised. (The child or teen who is allowed to use the stove responsibly with guidance will build his confidence in cooking and caring for himself.) Help kids connect with masters in the area. Taking a sewing class or learning to make a pillow from an online video can motivate kids to learn and remind them that learning can be fun.
Enlist Comfort Foods
Everyone would agree that using food to beat the blues is not a healthy idea, but choosing from a family-approved menu can help.
Explain that each evening before school starts, the family will share a favorite meal of one of the members. If the little one requests hot dogs and macaroni and cheese, that is the menu for one evening. If her teen brother asks for Mom’s famous spaghetti, that is the menu for another evening.
Planning special family meals is a way to bring family together for conversation and encouragement.
Remember to Give It to God
Having a family prayer list is always a great idea, but back-to-school time is an especially important time to do so. Encourage kids to share their excitement and concerns through the list. The items can be the starting points for family prayer and discussion.
Make a prayer wall. Post prayer ideas with sticky notes on the side of the fridge or pinned to the bulletin board. Use a chalkboard or dry erase board to jot ideas.
Keep a family prayer journal. Using a simple spiral notebook, list the items for the prayer list. Leave space under each to make note of how God answered the prayers.
Try a prayer jar (unbreakable) or box. Encourage all family members to write ideas on slips of paper. Then, take one from the jar each day to talk about and pray.
School is coming. That is a fact. Creating a mix of memories and confidence for the coming season is a great strategy for beating the back-to-school blues.
Carol McAdams Moore writes for children and youth in the general and Christian markets. Her debut tween devos: Dare U 2 Open This Book and Just Sayin’ released in September 2014.
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