Welcome to the start of the 2019 school year. For some students, it’s a return to the comfort and normality of their regular school routine; a time to catch up with old friends, while looking forward to the excitement of new classes, new teachers and new learning. If a student didn’t have a great year last year, he or she could be very anxious about this first week of school which feels full of unknowns. Students new to Mueller may be concerned about whether they’ll make friends, be accepted or fit in. Some students fear they won’t be able to handle the ‘harder’ work of the new year level. How might parents be able to assist their children in transitioning into a new school year?

It’s helpful to build a routine around the different needs of your family’s life. Children benefit from having set times for meals, outdoor play, active play, quiet play, reading, homework, family time, device use, to name a few. Having an evening routine before bed where bags are packed for the next morning is a great skill to develop. If a child is a little forgetful, it can help to develop a checklist of things to pack. It certainly contributes to life running more smoothly in the morning for the whole family.

One thing I urge all parents to consider doing is to build in some one-on-one time with each child each day. Now, I know that this isn’t always easy, but even five minutes per child per day where your child has your undivided attention can reap enormous benefits. It strengthens your relationship, allows your child to talk about his/her concerns and often gives you a feel for when things aren’t going so well for your child. I will write more in a later article about this topic.

If you haven’t done so already, it’s a good idea to set up a family calendar which includes all important dates for each person. Teaching a child to set up and keep a larger calendar for projects, steps and deadlines we well as marking off the steps as achieved is worthwhile. Your child learns a valuable life skill and hopefully, there aren’t too many unpleasant surprises the night before something’s due.

One of my favourite Bible verses comes from Lamentations 3:22-23a,

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.”

I love that we don’t have to wait for a new year to make a fresh start – God gives us what we need, when we need it, each and every day – not just once a year. Each day is a fresh start. May 2019 be a year of blessing for you and your family.

Jenny Billingham

(If you have a topic that you’d like more information about and think might interest other parents, please don’t hesitate to email me with suggestions at j.billingham@mueller.qld.edu.au  Thanks.)