Do you have a child just starting their first day of Kindergarten? Are they in middle school or high school? Are they beginning their senior year of High School or they just graduated and they are leaving for college and the beginning of their adult life? Or, Lord help you, do you homeschool your kids?
Whatever stage of schooling your kids are in, there are always some sort of emotion for moms attached to our kids going back to school. I cried all 6 times I took my kids to their first day of Kindergarten. I missed them so much during the day! Middle school…..distance makes the heart grow fonder and I really needed to miss them during the day so I was so excited when they got home from school! My oldest son started college last year and it’s my 2nd son’s turn this year. It is bittersweet because they are becoming responsible adults….but don’t need me as much as they used to. My friend Debbie has an entirely different perspective as she has always homeschooled her children. When I finally have some breathing room and time to do anything, she is booked solid educating her kiddos.
Getting kids ready to go back to school is not a simple thing, especially if you have multiple children going to multiple schools. There are clothes to buy, endless school supplies to gather, sports teams to sign up for, and right after school begins…forms to fill out, MORE school supplies to purchase, clubs to sign up for, band, drama, orchestra, and on and on and on. Remember, your kids are experiencing all of this stress with you! With all of this craziness, have you ever stopped before it starts and ask your kids what they want to accomplish this year? What are their goals? We, as parents, always have goals for our children but they will only accomplish them if our goals line up with their own goals.
My challenge for you is to set aside at least 1 hour, with each of your children, to sit down and ask them about their goals for the upcoming year. If you will be interrupted at home, go somewhere else. Take them out to lunch or go to a park. Turn your phone off, and give them your undivided attention. Completely focusing on them gives them permission to open up and be vulnerable with you! Tell them that you want to support their goals, not just make goals for them, and you want to challenge them to reach for something that will help them grow.
With all of these goals, ask them what their reason or motivation is for setting this goal (it can be just for fun even). Also have them consider the time and financial commitment of each activity and make sure it does not become overwhelming.
Help them make SMART goals:(Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Timely)
Listed below are some areas in which they might want to set goals.
- Sports – What sport? What team? What position? Extra training needed?
- School clubs – What clubs? Do they want to join a new one or be involved in club leadership?
- Musical instruments – What instrument?What chair do they want to work for? Do they need private lessons?
- Drama – Do they need a drama coach?Do they need your help to practice?
- Goals for grades – Advanced courses?
- Hours of sleep at night – If this goal isn’t set, many of the other goals will not be achieved.
- Job / no job – This is a money versus time question….which is needed more.
- Exercise – This can be as simple as taking a walk with you every day.If you have a dog, you have an easy reason to walk.
- Making friends – Have them look at their friends and make sure they are surrounding themselves with people that support them, not drag them down.
- Social activities/events – This is very important.It teaches them how to relate, communicate, and socialize with others. Plus…it is FUN!
- Ask them if there are any other goals they want to set.
The point is not to add stress, just to teach them to set and achieve goals. Celebrate with them when they reach each goal! This will also give them another reason to discuss what is going on at school with you. Take this opportunity to make another connection with your kiddos! You won’t regret it!!