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Ann Farabee: Ready for school?

Sometimes the teacher in me just has to come out, and ‘back to school’ is one of those times!

30+ years in the classroom, 30+ years as a parent, 11+ years as a grandparent, and 18 years as a student = take heed!

I am going to share some of what I learned along the journey that may help your child this school year. (By the way, for you math people who started adding those numbers up, that is not my age. The years overlapped.)

Here goes:

• SLEEP is important for learning, behavior, mood, and growth. Suggested amounts:  3-6 years: 10-12 hours. 7-12 years: 10-11 hours. 13-18 years: 8 1/2 -10 hours.

• BREAKFAST is important for better health, better behavior, and higher academic achievement. Include whole grains, fiber, protein and make it low in sugar.

• SAY GOOD-BYE WITH A PRAYER. As you give the morning good-bye hug, pray with/for your child. It just takes a few seconds, but will forever be remembered.

• TEACH YOUR CHILD TO PRAY AT SCHOOL. Our children can ask God to help them throughout the day. They need to know that prayers don’t have to be out loud — God can hear their thoughts. They don’t even have to close their eyes!

• PLACE GOD’S WORD IN THEIR HEARTS. Help your child memorize a verse to bring to mind at school as they face difficult tasks or situations. A great start would be Philippians 4:6 — Don’t worry about anything. Pray about everything.

• CONVERSE. It would be great if asking children how their day went opened up conversation, but it often results in one word responses.Try TABLE TALK during your evening meal or FAMILY TALK (family devotion time) later in the day. Have a container with questions in it for everyone in your family to answer. Examples: “What was the most fun part of your day?” “What was hard for you today?” “Tell about a way you helped someone today.”

• CONNECT. Show up and/or help at school events. Visit your child’s classroom when given opportunities. Send notes or emails if you have questions or if your child is struggling with something.

• CREATE A HOMEWORK STATION. Put all needed school tools in a basket. Place it near the work station, which is preferably a table or desk area. The basket of supplies will save time and stress. A consistent area for work will help with focus and attention to task.

• BOOKBAGS HOLD INFORMATION. Their importance should never be underestimated. They can almost become a child’s personal place of residency. It’s amazing what students have pulled out of them! Look through it completely each day and you could learn a great deal about what they are doing at school.

• BEDTIME TALK. It’s the best. No matter what age your child is, bedtime often brings about a time where they are willing to share their thoughts. Make time and take time for it. End the day with prayer.

Deuteronomy 11:19 encourages us to put God’s Word in our children’s hearts- speaking of them when we sit in our house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up. Psalm 121:1-2 says we need to know where our help comes from. What better time to focus on the teaching in these verses than when our children are making the transition back to school?


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