What a great summer!
Warm, dry, and beautiful most every day. It will be a season long remembered. As the days grow shorter and the nights cooler, September comes into view. School will be starting in a few weeks. When I was a child, I loved getting school supplies—pencils, paper, crayons, and binders. Like most kids, I liked school with its predictability and structure.
By mid-august, many kids are getting bored and antsy. They are ready to return to school and start a new year. Kids going into middle and high school are nervous too. They feel like they are stepping up to the big league, and they wonder what it will be like. It can be a bit overwhelming.
For kids and families, Labor Day is their real “New Year”, heralding a brand new grade and a larger playing field. It’s a perfect time to establish goals for the coming school year.
Here are some points to consider.
For teens, how about greater financial responsibility? How do you want to handle back to school shopping? How about giving your teen a budget that they have to live with? It gives them a sense of what life is really like—they have the freedom to choose what they want, but they have to live within their means.
It’s a good time to establish personal, family, and kid-centered goals for the new school year. How about a little less scheduling? Maybe a little more down time isn’t a bad idea. How about more time for exercise for Mom and Dad? How about clearer expectations about who is responsible for what household chores? How about less screen time for everyone? What about limiting cell phones after 8 p.m.? How about a time for family reading?
It’s a great time to establish family goals too. How about more regular meals together? —And this year sticking to it. What about family meetings on a regular basis to review goals? Do you want to make spirituality a more regular part of everyday life?
What are your children’s goals for this new school year--Better grades, more reading, a regular homework time, or participating in some different activities?
Write these goals down and put them on the refrigerator. Yes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. They are easy to forget in the “hurry, run around, get dinner on the table, Joey to soccer and Sarah to swim practice” daily routine. Pick the top five goals and put them on the fridge. Every time someone grabs some grub they will remember their decisions. It’s helpful.
Bring little kids over to their school before opening day. Bring your younger children over to their elementary school on one of these late August summer days. Look into the classrooms through the windows. Young children are concrete. It helps calm their concerns.
Soon it will be time to pare back bedtimes. It’s good to start kids going to sleep a little earlier for a week or two before school. It makes the transition a little easier. For teens a big issue is getting enough sleep during the school year. Lack of sleep makes teenagers grumpier than they might ordinarily be.
Enjoy the waning days of summer! We all love this time of year. Make the most of those lazy days. They will soon be transformed into a new year, a new adventure, filled with opportunity and promise.