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Getting Back Into the Swing of Things After the Holidays

     The holidays have just ended and both you and your kids are dreading those early morning starts back to school.  Homework given, backpacks ready to go, lunches made and school clothes laid out.  Well, do not fear.  Here are some wonderful tips that can help make that transition smoother and that second semester just as strong (if not stronger) than the first. 

     Tip #1 - Sit down with your kids and mark out all the holidays and breaks that are still coming up.  Knowing that there are pockets of rest and relaxation right around the corner can create some incentive to work super hard until those vacation spots are reached. 

     Tip #2 - Immediately get the kids (and yourself) back on schedule.  Start early in the afternoon making sure that homework is completed and packed, backpacks are ready and beside the door, clothes are laid out, etc.  Then, build in something fun like a game, fun show to watch together, etc.  Responsibility first, privilege second.  This will also create a great work ethic for your children's future schooling and work. 

     Tip #3 - Make afternoon time fun.  Turn on the family's favorite music while getting the responsibilities all sorted out.  Have a chart (that you and your child create together) posted so that when all the chores are finished there can be a reward (sticker, treat, extra time on a video game - whatever motivates your child).  This ensures less nagging on your part.  I say that with love as I know sometimes I get sick of hearing myself talk (when it comes to getting everyone ready and all the chores finished in a timely manner).

     Tip #4 - Check your student's progress at least once per week.  This, of course, varies depending upon the age and responsibility of the child, BUT at the very least, you and your child should be discussing and seeing (most grades are posted online now) his/her school progress one time per week.  It's easier to "keep up" than "catch up," so have a calendar with dates of projects, reports, test, etc. nearby where ALL can see.  And do not expect your student to be forthright with all the information . . . sometimes that child really does tell you the way he/she understands it, but the understanding may be way off base.  (For example, "I thought just the rough draft had to be turned in tomorrow.  I didn't realize it was the rough draft, outline, final and annotated bibliography."  AAAGGGHHH . . . these are the conversations that transpire in my home which is why the once a week- minimum –check- in is my dream come true.)

     Tip #5 - Pray each night and each morning over and with your student.  Ultimately, we all want what is best for our child's progress and motivation at school.  Some days are easier than others but our job is to lovingly guide.  God loves these kids more than we could ever dream of loving them.  When our children realize that we know we don't have all the answers and that we have to turn to a Great God who does, there is something humbling and freeing in that.  Taking time to pray with and over our children is a HUGE reminder to us all, that though we work as if it's all up to us, we truly must pray as if it's all up to Him - our Creator, Lord and Savior—because it truly is!

     Well, I certainly hope that some if not all of these tips find a helpful spot into your household.  I write this article late at night as I'm dreading our first morning back at school tomorrow.  My kids were so tired after our Holiday Break that I didn't have anyone lay out backpacks, clothes - nothing.  I will do it for tonight and we'll start a fresh tomorrow.  And truthfully, I think that's the best way to close with . . .

     Tip #6 - Be prepared to show grace to yourself and your children and to remember that EVERY DAY is a fresh and new day with NO mistakes.  (Don't hold on to what you didn't get done yesterday . . . hold on to the hope of fresh new starts today and tomorrow.)

     May the Lord bless your endeavors as we all continue to embark on the educational journey with our children.  Remember it is a race, so PACE yourself.  Hit the water stops and walk every once in a while.  It may be just the refreshment you and your child need to keep you going and to make it a personal best for your school year!

Copyright © 2008-2015 Cindy Aitken

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