Back to School With Purpose

Mom at child's eye level, facing her and holding the hands of her child, who is wearing a pink backpack/purse

Moving from a summer schedule to a school-year routine is a time of transition for families. To help children make this change, parents can meet with their children's teachers, take a tour of the school, set earlier bedtimes the week before and practice the morning routine days before school starts. In addition, here are four ways I've helped my child ease into the new school-year schedule:

Picture calendar

My son and I create a picture calendar that helps him visually understand when he will go to school and when he will stay home. A different picture is pasted on home days than on school days. The vagueness of going to school sometimes is replaced by a concrete way to understand his schedule.


As my child goes off to school, I send him with a "mission." For example, I might ask him to tell a friend one kind thing today ("You are my friend." "Thank you for playing with me at recess.") or invite someone who doesn't have many friends to sit with him at lunch. These mini-missions help teach my child to focus on and encourage others.


By teaching my frightened child to pray, "God, I will choose to trust You even when I am feeling afraid," I'm helping him develop a life skill that he can apply to other difficult times.

Goodbye ritual

When I drop my son off at school, I want to give him a focused perspective about who God calls him to be. So I have taught him that integrity means doing what is right, even when no one is watching. I ask, "How will you return to me?" when I drop him off. He responds, "With integrity, Mom!" Our goodbye ritual is the same every day. By emphasizing this character quality each day, I'm helping my son connect who he is at school with who he is at home.

This article appeared in the August/September 2015 issue of Thriving Family magazine. If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Thriving Familya marriage and parenting magazine published by Focus on the Family. Get Thriving Family delivered to your home by subscribing to it for a gift of any amount.

Copyright © 2015 by Lauren Osborne. Used by permission.

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