Melinda Bayless

Back-to-school time is a fairly pivotal time in the life of a family. 

You can almost hear the gears grinding as life heads in a new direction. It can be exciting. But for some families, it holds more dread than excitement—a reminder of stressful days ahead.

Getting schedules nailed down, marking up the calendar and buying school supplies are all part of what has to happen to keep everyone where they need to be, when they need to be there, with supplies in tow.

All of those things are important.

All that preparation matters, but so does the transition from home to school.

It is likely the most important part of a child’s day. If handled well, it gives them the best opportunity to approach the day with a positive attitude. It is well worth the investment of time to create a routine that minimizes stress and maximizes the likelihood of a successful day at school.

Keep a morning routine.

Requirements for a child this time of day should be minimal and limited to what produces the most “calm” for everyone involved.

When our kids were young there were two morning requirements: eat breakfast and make your bed.

Everything else was handled the night before—homework checked and signed, the schedule for the next day reviewed and clothes laid out.

With those things tended to the night before, it cut down on the number of decisions that had to be made while they are still a little groggy, and allows time for a few unhurried, pleasant conversations to begin their day.

Although this is probably not the best time for family Bible study, it is a good time for a short, Scriptural thought that reminds them of who God is and promises He has made to them.

Disciplinary issues are better dealt with and brought to closure the night before. When a child walks out the door for school, stress at home should be minimal so that their energy can go toward creating positive relationships with friends, classmates and teachers.

If they are carrying stress from home, they can’t focus as well, and the emotional impact can be crippling for some kids.

Let’s do for our kids, what God does for us: “His mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 2:23 NLT).

Melinda Bayless is a family life coach and member of Southeast Christian Church.