Back to school is a wonderful time to connect with our kids. No matter what grade your child is in, whether they are in college, traditional school, or if you homeschool, planning as seasons change is an important step in building relationships with our children. When we take an interest in learning what's important to our kids we demonstrate love for them, as well as concern for their mental health. The transition from summer to school is a great time to do that.
When possible, I try to take time with each child individually. I've done this with the kids together, though, so that works, too! We generally go somewhere quiet and have a treat while we talk. If you had a talk like this at the end of the school year, check to see what they wanted to do for the summer. If you didn't get to things there may still be time. Make some plans, if needed. Either way, here are some questions to guide you through the back-to-school planning conversation.
End of Summer/Back to School Connect Questions:
What did they love about summer? What were their best memories?
Talk through what they wanted to do and what you were able to do. If you didn't get to things, can they be moved to upcoming months? If not, discuss how your child feels about not getting to them. Allow them to own their feelings. It's okay to be sad about plans not fulfilled.
What would they like for the coming school year? What academic goals do they have? What extra-curricular goals do they have?
What are their thoughts about their new teacher? Do they have first day of school concerns? Are they concerned about what school life will be like at a new school or new grade?
What are they excited about for the coming year?
Is there back to school shopping you need to do? (Shop small and support local businesses!)
Make a list of stores, clothes, fashion (if appropriate), school uniforms, backpack supplies, and classroom supplies you'll need, if you haven't done that already.
Finally, make sure you have a clear list of their concerns, hopes, and goals for the year. We'll touch base with this again in late fall.
I generally follow up with their goals/dreams after just a couple of months. I might say something like, "Son, I know you wanted to join band this year. When are tryouts?" Wait for answer. "Is there something I can do to help?" If they aren't sure, it may be they just need the reminder to check on it.
Other goals, like learning a new skill, require time to work on it. Be sure you carve out that time - then when the time is free, tell them it's a good time to work on that goal. They will love that you remembered and helped them to achieve their goals.
I hope this helps you make good connections with your kids. The time is fleeting. Marking the shifts in season will help you both to build memories and forge a lifelong bond.
What questions do you ask your kids when you're planning for a new school year? Scroll to the very bottom to leave your answer in the comments section.
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