5 Ways to Send Kids Back to School with Confidence
By Alison Zeller
The beginning of August means one thing for children, parents, and teachers - it’s back-to-school time! While many are excited, some children may be feeling anxious and unsure about starting the school year.
Kindergartners might be nervous about starting school for the very first time. Middle schoolers might be worried about bullying. High schoolers might feel tense about their classes. New kids might be scared of making friends. And, all kids will have to adjust to the new routine of the school year.
Amidst all the worry and fear, God stands strong. The love of Jesus and the guidance of our heavenly Father will go with each one of the children in your ministry this school year. Make sure the kids at your church know that! Here are five ways to send kids back to school with confidence:
- Written affirmations
Kids of all ages need praise and affirmation. It builds confidence. It lets them know that you notice the wonderful gifts that God has given them. In short, it makes them feel good, and that is extremely important for children who feel frightened about school.
Consider giving each child a handwritten note on the Sunday before school begins. Include Bible verses like Colossians 3:16; Romans 8:28; Proverbs 3:5; and 2 Peter 3:18. Write a few sentences about the specific strengths and skills of the child. Highlight the accomplishments you’ve seen throughout the summer. If you know about specific fears, mention them briefly and write words of encouragement to build up confidence.
Be sure to send the cards via mail for children who aren’t in church that Sunday.
- Reassurance of God’s presence
Many children, especially those in elementary school, have trouble adapting to the new routine and the new surroundings of school. They may feel alone without their parents or usual caregivers. It’s important to remind them that Jesus, our Savior, is all knowing and present everywhere. He’ll be with them through all the happy, exciting times. And he’ll be there to give them strength in the difficult times, too.
To reassure children of God’s presence, download the Jesus Is . . . Ministry Message from CTA and use it during a children’s sermon or children’s church in August. As children leave, give them a Jesus Is . . . drawstring backpack that features the Bible verse Matthew 28:20, [Jesus said,] "I am with you always" (NLT).
- School supplies checklist
Purchasing school supplies is expensive! And, arriving at school without the right supplies can steal a child’s confidence. Are you sure everyone in your church has the school supplies they need?
Create a school supply checklist and distribute it among parents. List common items like notebooks, backpacks, crayons, binders, tissues, and glue. Also leave several lines for parents to write in additional supplies. Encourage parents to mark the checklist with any supplies they may need and return the list to your mailbox or e-mail their needs. If you have extra funds in your budget, use that money to buy the supplies or quietly ask around the church to see if you can find a few generous donors. Keep in mind, the goal is to get the children the supplies they need without causing embarrassment or anxiety.
- Back-to-school blessing service
Incorporating a back-to-school blessing into your worship service is a great way to show children that the entire church is rooting for them! This year, CTA has created an all-new handout with several ideas for back-to-school blessings. You’ll see ideas for all ages and several quick-and-easy tips designed to help you care for the families in your ministry and community.
- Fresh and fun Sunday school
Getting kids to come back to Sunday school week after week will work wonders on their confidence. As they learn more about God’s Word and the forgiveness we have in Jesus, they’ll find strength and comfort in being a child of God at their regular school, too.
If you’re looking for new topics for Sunday school, be sure to check out CTA’s children’s ministry page. There are several themes that could be used to boost children’s confidence and two themes feature FREE, downloadable event guides. Look for Shine Bright, Little Light and G.L.O.W. – God Lights Our Way. These events are specially designed for fall and would fit perfectly into your calendar on October 29 - a fifth Sunday.
You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use when you include this credit line and receive no monetary benefit from it: © 2017 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.