It’s hard to believe that another school year is already upon us. Although it’s nice to get back into a routine, If you’re anything like me, you’re a little bit sad that the long summer days of swimming, vacations, and much needed family time are over.
As I make the transition back into packing lunches, helping with homework, and sitting in the mile long car line, I realize that I often become so focused on the routine that I forget what the routine is all about. My kids!! They are not only learning the Pythagorean theorem (as if that’s not enough), they are learning how to navigate this big, scary world.
Our kids need to be encouraged just as much, if not more, than we do. When the world is telling them it’s too hard, or they aren’t good enough, we should be their biggest cheerleader.
If finding ways to encourage your kids this school year seems overwhelming, check out the 10 practical tips below. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming.
Here are 10 practical ways to encourage your kids this school year
1. Tell them how great they are. I know, it isn’t rocket science but it can be easy to forget. Telling your kids how special they are, that you are proud of them, and that you love them regardless of their accomplishments goes a long way in building their confidence.
2. Highs and lows. Ask them what the best part of their day and worst part of their day was. We like to do this during dinner time and everyone, including mom and dad, answer. This is a great way to remind your kids (and you) to focus on the good things that happen and not just the bad. It also gives you an opportunity to encourage them about the difficult parts of their day.
3. Goodnight. Tucking my kids in at night is one of my favorite parts of the day. This is one of the few times that I can talk to them without other distractions. Use this time to ask questions about your child’s day, their friends, or teachers. Try to use open ended questions when possible like “who’s your best friend this year?” “Why would you consider them a best friend?” “What scares you the most about third grade?” You’ll learn a lot about your child and find that this gives you a perfect opportunity to encourage your child through some of the difficult moments of growing up.
4. Lunchbox Notes. This idea has been around since the stone age but it still works today! I remember my mom writing me notes on my banana. There were many days when that note is just what I needed to get through the day. Write a quick note of encouragement on a napkin, sandwich bag, sticky note, or banana. Or you can make it even easier by printing out our free Encouraging Lunchbox Notes to stick in their lunchbox. ‘Subscribe to receive your free printable Encouraging Lunchbox Notes’
Free Printable Lunchbox Notes for Kids
5. Text. If your child is old enough to have a cell phone, send them a quick text. “Thinking about you.” “Good luck on your math test. I know you will do great!”
6. Homework Time. Helping with homework can easily be one of the most frustrating parts of the day. If a child doesn’t understand a concept it can be disheartening for them which often causes them to shut down and give up. As parents, we can take this opportunity to speak words of encouragement to our children. Let them know that struggling with some concepts is perfectly normal and part of learning. Point out that everyone has different gifts and strengths and remind them of what their strengths are. Maybe they struggle with math but writing comes naturally for them. God has a purpose for each one of us and our gifts and strengths align with that purpose.
7. Relax. All of us become most easily discouraged when we are tired and burnt out. Children are no exception. Encourage your child to take time to enjoy being a kid. Between school, extracurricular activities, and homework there isn’t much time left to just relax. Try to allow your child at least 15-30 minutes each day to decompress. This is especially needed if your child is an introvert. Relaxing can mean different things for different children. Some can decompress by watching TV or playing video games. Some would rather draw, read a book or just listen to music. Help them find what works best for them.
8. Car Ride. The ride to school is such a great opportunity to encourage your children. Think of it as your opportunity to give a “pre-game speech”. Get them pumped up and excited about their day.
9. Surprise Them. Every now and then surprise your kids with a special treat. Maybe it’s surprising them at school by picking them up for lunch. Or leaving a small gift and a note letting them know how proud you are of them on their bed. Consider sending them an InJoyBox for a special surprise or when they have had a rough week.
10. You Rock. Sometimes one of the best ways to encourage your kids is to quit being so hard on yourself. You were hand picked by God as your child’s mom or dad and no one else can fill that role. Every one of us has said things to our children that we regret and we will say things in the future that we will wish we hadn’t. Ask your kids to forgive you and move on. It’s important for our kids to know we make mistakes and it’s even more important for them to see how we handle those mistakes. Remember that parenthood is a marathon not a sprint. Hang in there, you’re doing a great job!
And just in case you forgot from your Kindergarten math days, the Pythagorean theorem is a2 + b2 = c2 where c represents the length of the hypotenuse and a and b the lengths of the triangle’s other two sides.
Know someone who needs to be encouraged?
Brighten their day with an InJoyBox.
We have boxes for men, women, and kids.