Changing schools is rough [understatement of the year]. After experiencing it ourselves last year, my heart aches for the kids who are about to walk into that new classroom for the first time, not knowing a single kid, recognizing a teacher’s face or even knowing where the bathroom is in their new building.
It is a big adjustment for a child of any age to leave what and whom they know and love, and to start all over again at a new school. Our change of schools was challenging. There were days when I thought it would never get better. For my child who deeply struggles with change and for the one who was being torn apart from cousins, it was filled with so many emotions and struggles. Honestly, I want to start crying just thinking of it.
There were many things we did (along with praying) to prepare for and adjust to our new school. And if you ever want to hear more, let me know . . . because there was a lot. But once school started, I became deliberate about asking two questions each night while we ate dinner. These are the two questions and why I asked them:
Question #1: What were three blessings of the day?
When everything looks bleak, it is important to treasure-hunt for the good things. This forced my kids to change their focus away from the hard and horrible to something positive. I was determined to help them find good things about their new school. For their responses, I accepted anything positive.
- Pizza was served for lunch.
- My teacher let us pick any book off the shelf to read.
- I liked the note you put in my lunch.
- It didn’t rain and we got to play outside for recess.
- I liked technology class.
- I did well on a spelling test.
- Our class did a fun project.
- I played with someone at recess.
- I made a new friend.
There were some days where it was hard for one of the kids to come up with three blessings. But persevering in our blessing hunt even on the tough days helped the kids direct their attention to the fact that everything wasn’t awful. We could find something good.
Question #2: What was your “fail” of the day and what did you learn from it?
I am a recovering perfectionist and in many ways, my kids expect a lot of themselves, too. But it is okay to fail. It is okay to make mistakes. The key is to learn from those mistakes.
When an anxious child is in a new situation, they may not handle every moment well. Not only is this a teaching moment on how they could have better handled the situation but also a chance to mold their mindset into one that sees failure not as the terrible end, but as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Thomas Edison had over 1,000 failed attempts when inventing the light bulb. You know what those failed attempts were? They were 1,000 ways Edison learned not to make the bulb. Learning from failure and persevering is a lifelong skill and training your kids to see past failure is . . . well, it is another blessing to count!
Incidentally, Dan and I participated in these two questions as well. There were some days when the kids found my failures quite humorous. And in my telling them what I learned, I was able to reinforce that we were all growing and I was learning through my mistakes as well.
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During the emotional and challenging time of adjusting to a new school, your kids need to know that they are on a journey. They will learn and grow through this process. They will make mistakes. Things will be hard. But, the difficulty of the first few weeks (or months) is not the destination. Things will improve. It takes time.
We also prayed for and with the kids quite a bit. We used this as an opportunity to trust that God would take care of us and meet our needs. We felt the Lord helping us through this adjustment and there were so many sweet moments of seeing His hand at work. It was a reminder for us all of His faithfulness.
Can we pray for your child? If your family is changing schools, my family would love the opportunity to pray for your son or daughter. Leave your child’s first name and grade in the comments below (or on this Facebook post) and we will pray for them during this transition.
Related Posts: Back to School Prayers