Every morning my sister drinks out of her coffee mug that states, "Too Blessed To Be Stressed." This is the season where we need to slow down a bit and remember that we should not be bogged down with back to school stress! The question is: how do we maximize our last few weeks of summer before the children head back to school and still be ready for the first day?
First and foremost, moms need to slow down and gain a perspective on children going back to school! Our job is to seek the graces we need from the Lord to help us get the kids ready for school, keep our inner peace and yet still enjoy these last few weeks or days of summer.
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Here are some practical ways to help us prepare before the school bell rings!
- Summer is a Season of Spiritual Renewal: Our family makes it a priority to give the children Catholic, spiritually renewing experiences over the course of the summer. As parents, we understand that rigorous academics during the year are different than experiencing God first hand through awesome faith based experiences. For example, this summer my high-schoolers went to a Franciscan University Youth Summer Conference for the first time, four of my children attended Catholic Youth Summer Camp (or CYSC), and we attended a family camp together through the Apostolate for Family Consecration. These experiences allowed all of us to experience the power and glory of Christ which renewed our spirits! It was also a great way to jump started our prayer life and helped us to reconnect as family members! Consider booking a camp or conference like any of these next summer; you will not be disappointed!
- Work of Mercy or Service Project: Consider practicing a work of mercy together: bring a meal to a needy person, write letters or visit the imprisoned or an elderly neighbor, spread the faith through doing some type of mission work. Or do the simple task of having another parent’s children over for a play date so the couple can have a date and attend adoration. Click here for the checklist for busy moms!
- Step Outside of Your Daily Routine And Have Fun: Consider getting out of your normal routine and having fun in a unique way! Here are a few of our family's favorites: pizza pool side, campfire with S'mores (in the backyard will do), surprise your children with breakfast in bed, an evening family bike ride or spontaneous ice cream outing after a trip to visit Jesus in adoration or daily Mass… Children love to be surprised with extra special fun!
- School Supplies and the Stuff of School: Take the pressure off by ordering these items online or shop without children to reduce the stress of extra buying! If you are hunting down specific items like uniforms, ask other parents if they have extra uniforms that their children have outgrown or go out of your way to offer these items to others.
- Send the Kid Outside to Play in These Final Days of Summer: Parents, your children need you to turn off their devices! Remember, our job is to encourage children to go outside and play and have screen free time. Oftentimes in my house it comes down to “clean or play outside” and they always choose to play and are happy they did so! As parents, we need to understand that rarely will a child put down a device on their own and head outside to shoot basketball hoops and enjoy these final days of summer!
- Clean Out and Clean Up: If you don’t need it: pass it along or pitch it! Too much stuff is stressful and when we purge we will feel better prepared for the new school year! Try to find someone who will find your items a real blessing!
- Work On Setting Your School Schedule Now: When we take time out to properly plan our logistics it makes a big difference, and it reduces stress for everyone when we know what the plan is! Good communication helps reduce stress especially in family life! Consider how many activities you plan to say yes to such as sports, clubs and dance classes and what needs to go by the wayside! Set up carpools and find other children who can join your child in the fun, this will make a big difference in the long run!
- Camping/ Backyard Fun: Yes, believe it or not just one night of camping (even if it is in your backyard) can help children to connect with nature and unwind! All my children love to go camping, from the 17-year-old on down! We bought a pop-up camper with which to go camping but it does have an air conditioner and a mini-refrigerator, so I am not sure if that counts!
- Bring It To Prayer: August is a great month to recommit yourself to daily prayer and allow this season of transitioning children to school to be a great chance to increase your daily prayer time! Consider reconnecting with th or offer up a special novena to help the children as they prepare for school! Prayer is a powerful tool to reduce stress!
- Develop A Board of Thanksgiving: At the top of our upstairs we have a whiteboard where we write out what specific things we have done this summer that were meaningful and special. The kids and I add new experiences throughout the summer as a way to look back on the summer fun we have had and remember all our blessings!
How will you maximize your last few weeks of summer before the children head back to school and still be ready for the first day?
Copyright 2016 Emily Jaminet
About the Author
Emily Jaminet and her husband have 7 children. Jaminet is the Director of Sacred Heart Enthronement Network www.enthronements.com, shares "A Mother's Moment," a daily radio reflection, She is the co-author of Divine Mercy For Moms: Sharing the Lessons of St. Faustina and The Friendship Project . You can read more of Emily’s work at EmilyJaminet.com,Divine Mercy for Moms, and The Friendship Project Book.