Going back to school is a big deal.
The summer is about to come to a screeching halt. Parents feel it, youth workers feel it, and students most certainly feel it. Soon, alarm clocks will enjoy being ignored again and parents will beg their kids to wake up for school.
It’s a stressful time. So how can we help relieve the (back to school) stress students and families might be experiencing?
Encourage parents – Most parents are running around doing school shopping, orientation, registration, updating shots, squeezing in dentist appointments, and trying to create a few more memories before the summer comes to a close.
- Extend an invitation to parents to meet you for coffee, your treat. Giving them a moment that is not about school prep is a gift in and of itself. Give them a moment to just enjoy sitting with another adult and sipping a cup of coffee.
- Call them. Let them know you are thinking about them and praying for them. Encourage them. Ask them if they need anything. Before you hang up the phone, pray with them.
- Drop them a personal email (not one with dozens of other parents cc’d). Be sincere in your email. Connect with parents during this busier than usual season.
Encouraging parents and helping to relieve their stress will also relieve stress for the kids. Students feed off of the stress of their parents.
Encourage students – Are you ready for school to start? This is the number one question students get asked during the summer. I know this because my son is going into middle school and this is the question everyone asks him. Students actually may not be ready to go back to school. The answer is usually no. This question doesn’t lead to conversation. To really feel out where students are and what kinds of stress they might be experiencing, try a different question…
- School is starting soon. Are you stressed out about anything?
- Do you need anything for school that you don’t have?
- Can I pray with you before school starts? What can I pray about?
We can also help students relieve stress by helping them prepare spiritually and emotionally for school.
- Print out a sheet of inspirational verses that will encourage students. Ask them to keep it somewhere where they will see it everyday before school starts. They can keep the sheet of verses in their binder or locker where they will be lifted up by the hope and promise found in scripture.
- Give students a reading plan that will help them read the bible until school starts and after school starts. It could be as simple as a verse a day or chapter a day.
- Order a gift for your students. This gift could be a resource that boosts their self worth and reminds them how much they are loved by God.
Here are some encouraging resources to help students shake off the stress and enter school feeling encouraged.