It’s the first week of August! For many of you, that means it’s your kid’s first week back at school! Somehow summer flew by and we’re sure August will pass by just as quickly! The beginning of a new school year is often a fresh start and the beginning of a new routine for many families. How do you navigate all the newness? Find out today on Wire Talk!

Question 1: “My first child is starting kindergarten this year and I think we both are excited but nervous. What are some things I can do to make sure he isn’t nervous or scared? Also, what are some things I can do to help me with being a nervous wreck on the first day?”

Karen’s Answer: Kindergarten is a big step—but usually more for moms than kids. My kids were all pretty ready to go, but as moms we start to feel like we’re going to lose influence with our child. Don’t worry, you are still the most influential person in your child’s life!

Another thing that should help with your nerves is knowing that kindergarten teachers and staff are absolutely amazing. They go out of their way to take care of the kids and give them direction and make sure that there’s nobody getting lost or not eating lunch.

When my youngest, Abby, went to kindergarten I actually has tears in my eyes. Abby didn’t skip a beat, but I was sad, so I totally understand feeling nervous!

I would suggest that you talk to one of your positive friends who have been through it before and they’ll be able to give you good advice and ease your nerves

Question 2: “What are your thoughts on extra-curricular activities? Should there ever be a limit, and if so—how do you know what that limit is? With the new school year comes sports teams, girl scouts, instrument classes, etc. I want to encourage them to stay active, but also be intentional about not over-scheduling their lives.”

Karen’s Answer: In short… yes there should be a limit! We should do everything in our life in moderation. With my four kids, we figured out that we could only reasonably do one activity at a time per child. That was still four different activities for our family which kept us plenty busy. I think it’s teaching the kids that in life there is give and take.

Anxiety and stress are on the rise in our children’s generation. As fast-paced as we’re going in our society, our children feel so much pressure to take part in everything and be perfect at it! When Kelsey was 3-years-old she was in ballet and her teacher was too intense for that age group. Kelsey would come home from class being stressed, so I made the decision to pull her out of ballet. Some things just aren’t worth it!

I’m not against organized sports, but it’s also important to remember that a child doesn’t need to be involved in organized sports to be active. You can take walks as family, spend time time at a park, play outside in the yard. You have to do what’s best for your family.

Question 3: “My shy daughter is starting middle school this year and doesn’t know anybody. How do I teach her to be confident in her ability to make friends? Also, how do I teach her to stand up to people if others are mean?”

Karen’s Answer: This is a great question and my answer is three-fold. First, It’s important to encourage your daughter to be true to who she is. Trying to be someone else is going to make her feel even more shy and insecure.

Second, if your daughter truly is shy then you have to accept it. A lot of times we as moms want to see our kids playing with other kids and being outgoing—we do this with the absolute best intention. However, if your child is shy you have to learn to be okay with that.

Third, I would stop worrying about what could happen. Do almost all kids get their feelings hurt in middle school? Absolutely. It’s heartbreaking, but there’s a chance it will happen. But, it hasn’t happened yet! When it happens, you’ll know how to work through it, but don’t worry about something that hasn’t happened.

Question 4: “Last year was a rough school year for my son. He ran into some academic issues as well as discipline issues. I want to help him set some goals for this year and have this new school year truly be a fresh start—any tips on how I can do that?”

Karen’s Answer: One thing I would do is to sit with your kid and ask him “where do you want to be in 5   or 10 years?” It’s your time to sit and listen, don’t correct his dreams and goals. Once he tells you the things he wants to accomplish, tell him that you want to pull up alongside him and help him reach those goals. It’s our jobs as parents to help our kids see past where they are now.

Also, when tough moments came, I let my children face the natural consequences of their actions. For example, when Abby would be working on a project for school she would sometimes come into my room at 10:00PM and tell me that the project wasn’t done and was due tomorrow. I would tell her “well Abby, you are going to have to take a letter grade down on the project and come home and keep working on it tomorrow.” Lots of moms would say “How can you let her get a bad grade when you could have stepped in and helped her!”… but you know what? Stepping in and helping her would have done nothing for her in the long run. She wouldn’t have learned any lessons. She still graduated with Honors!

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Loving Your Child Too Much: How to Keep a Close Relationship with Your Child Without Overindulging, Overprotecting, or Overcontrolling by Tim Clinton and Gary Sibcey

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Personality Plus for Parents: Understanding What Makes Your Child Tick

The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are by Dr. Kevin Leman

Moms, we know your time is precious. Thank for spending it with us. We hope you feel encouraged, equipped and most importantly—the peace of God. If you enjoy this week’s podcast, remember to share it with your friends!

As always, if you have a question about motherhood we want to hear it, so make sure you visit birdsonawiremoms.com/askkaren and tune in each week to see if we cover your question!

Thank you moms, have a great day!

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WT 018: How Do I Prepare for Back-to-School?

by Karen Stubbs | Birds on a Wire | Wire Talk Podcast

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