Navigating Back-to-School

August 22, 2023

With the leisurely days of summer coming to an end, families have begun a new chapter as the school season begins. The calendar is quickly filling with school projects, extracurricular activities and other commitments. And yet, it’s a crucial time for families to maintain a strong foundation of faith and prioritize spiritual growth. Here are six tips for families to successfully transition into the back-to-school routine while cultivating a deeper connection with each other and with God.

1. Prep for Success

One of the keys to a successful school week is advanced preparation. Each evening, take time to prepare for the next day. Have your children help lay out backpacks, pack lunches and select outfits to minimize morning chaos and encourage responsibility.

2. Worship on Wheels

Transform the daily commute into a family bonding opportunity by incorporating a devotional session. Select a devotional that resonates with your family and engage in meaningful discussion on the way to school. This sets a godly focus for the day ahead and helps deepen your family’s faith.

3. Heavenly Goals

Amidst all of these school activities, keep your family's priorities aligned with heavenly goals. Dedicate time for prayer and reflection as a family, discussing how your faith plays into your daily lives. By setting intentions grounded in faith, you'll cultivate a sense of purpose and direction that extends beyond academic and extracurricular pursuits.

4. Daily Priorities

Empower your family members to establish their daily priorities. Develop the habit of creating a list of tasks and goals for the day, nurturing a sense of responsibility and time management. Encourage open conversations about how each family member plans to achieve their objectives. This will encourage accountability and an atmosphere of mutual support. 

Here’s an example of what this may look like:

Mom's Priorities:

  • Drop off Jimmy at school.
  • Work presentation at 11 am.
  • Leave work early to pick up Grandma from the airport
  • Dad's birthday dinner tonight!

Jimmy's Priorities:

  1. Ask the teacher about the math assignment.
  2. Remember to bring home backpack.
  3. Clarinet lesson after school.
  4. Help with Dad's birthday dinner celebration

5. Tame the Busyness Beast

In a world of constant busyness, let’s assess the value of our various commitments. Encourage your children to strike a balance between academic, extracurricular and spiritual pursuits. Lead by example by prioritizing quality over quantity, emphasizing the importance of genuine connections and time spent in communion with God.

6. Time to Listen

Time in the car after school pick-up provides a great opportunity to connect with your children. Create a safe space for them to decompress from their day, whether it involves sharing stories, singing along to songs or simply enjoying moments of quiet reflection. Be an attentive listener, ready to engage and offer guidance when they are ready to open up.

7. Embrace Grace

While we strive for excellence, it's important to acknowledge that not every day will go as planned. Misplaced lunchboxes, tardiness, illnesses and unforeseen challenges at school are inevitable. Practice extending grace to yourself and your children during these moments. Remember that God's love and understanding are boundless. Challenge yourself to offer this same understanding during times of imperfection.

By Jessica L. Lozano
Record Writer