Back to school anxiety
by Kristie Anderson
It is once again that time of the year when a collective groan is echoing in the early morning hours as children rise for school. For some, the new school year arrives with the excitement of new subjects and experiences. For others, the new school year brings new stress and worry. Whether your kids are attending public school, private school, virtual school, or homeschool; let us consider how to encourage and prepare them for the days ahead.
As the mother of four children from elementary to high school, here is some counsel I have received that has been particularly helpful for my children.
Help your child learn to pray about their day and their worries. Model prayer in your family. We often remind our children of Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Encourage your children to take their fears and worries to the One who can help them.
2. Rehearse their day beforehand
My girls especially like to know exactly what is going to happen. Walk through what the day will look like. Will they switch classes? Will they already know some kids in their class? Are there assignments due or tests to take? We usually go over the schedule to address areas of worry. We also highlight things that are a blessing in the day ahead.
3. Start or continue back to school traditions
This can be as simple as getting new school supplies together. We start our first day of school with donuts! We will periodically surprise our kids with a special outing or treat on Friday to celebrate the end of the school week.
4. Memorize scripture
Tuck verses on fear or anxiety in the backpack or lunchbox of your child. Work on memorizing the verses together as a family.
5. Make time for communication
After school, set aside time to talk about their day. What was the best part? What was the hardest part? Come alongside your child and encourage them with time together.
Certainly, as parents, we may also struggle with worry. Am I making the right schooling decision? Will my child turn out okay? Apply some of the same disciplines to your own life that you are seeking to instill in your child. Memorize scripture. Remind yourself of the truth of God’s word through memorization and meditation. The Lord is in control and He loves us and our children more than we can imagine.
My favorite memory verses this time of year as a mother…
Matthew 6:25 – “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
1 Peter 5:6-7 – “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
The following resources may help encourage and equip you and your children:
5 Things to Pray for Your Kids by Melissa Kruger
Risen Motherhood by Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler
The New City Catechism by Crossway (available as a free app as well)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristie Anderson is a wife, mom and homeschooler. She is a native of Kentucky which is still really clear in her accent, but has called East Asia and Michigan home. She loves Jesus, hanging out with her husband, reading aloud to her kids, and drinking good coffee.