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The end of the summer approaches in New Jersey. Nighttime temperatures have dipped into the low 60s a few times already. Within a few weeks, darkness will fall much closer to dinnertime. Trees will burst into flames of color. Back to school time is upon us as well.
The slower rhythms of summer give way to the more demanding busyness of the school year. The discipline of homework and activities will replace the looser, freer sort of days summer provides. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and disconnected when fall begins.
In the week before my children and I return to our respective classrooms, there are little things I do to ease the transition for all of us. In the next several weeks, I will be sharing some ways I battle back to school madness and carve out some precious margin for the family. While we may get busier in the weeks and months ahead, we don’t need to be overwhelmed.
Chances are you’ve seen more of your children this summer than when they are back to school, depending on what activities they do and if they are old enough for jobs and social lives. In this week’s post, I will suggest little ways we can stay connected with our children as the structure of back to school takes shape. Here are my favorites:
I cannot overemphasize the importance of family dinner. Please check out my previous post on the subject. Admittedly, it may not be realistic to be able to sit down to dinner every single night as a family. However, doing so as much as possible is an invaluable way to stay connected to your children. Breakfast counts also! If you have a later start than your children, why not sit and eat with them and pray about the day ahead? The important thing is togetherness around the table.
As our children get older and have more activities, it can be difficult to get one-on-one time to talk. My amazing friend, Andrea Thorpe, has published her first book, an interactive parent/child journal. I had the privilege of editing this book for her and can tell you I am so excited to start using it with my middle schooler as she starts seventh grade. It’s full of ideas and topics to help parents and children get to know each other, and it can be completed as time permits. Sometimes middle schoolers aren’t chatty with us, but they may be more willing to jot down their thoughts to share. The link below is to the journal. I hope you’ll consider purchasing it to use with your own child.
Your kids and your spouse can be encouraged by a simple note. This can be a text or a sticky note in the lunchbox. It doesn’t have to be something you do every day, but a little burst of encouragement goes a long way. You can use plain sticky notes, nothing fancy needed. Shoot your older children a text if they’ve outgrown taking lunchboxes to school. I know an unexpected note from a friend or text from my husband always makes me smile.
Making it to bedtime after a long day is an accomplishment. Taking a little time to pray, reflect, and read with your children is a nice way to bring a peaceful end to the day. In our family, we tell stories, pray over the kids, and they say the Bible verse of their choice. When we aren’t as busy, we may play a game after dinner or watch a program together before they settle in. These points of connection may be short and simple, but they impact your children.
Stay connected once school starts. It can feel so busy at times that we don’t get to interact in the ways we’d like. I pray you and your children have a wonderful fall and smooth back to school transition.
Hi! I’m Tracy…Christ-follower, wife, mama, writer, blogger, speaker, teacher, dreamer. I love Earl Grey Tea and quiet mornings. Here at Earl Grey and Yellow, the focus is striving to be faithful and appreciate the small things. So glad you stopped by. Please have a look around and subscribe to our newsletter and social media to stay connected.