1. Plan to plan.
My husband and I work jobs that require us to keep inconsistent schedules. Add to that two daughters, two cats, a house remodel, and our weekly calendars resemble the aisles of Walmart after Black Friday.
A few years back, my husband suggested a 15-minute family “huddle” on Sunday night to dissect the upcoming seven days. For now, it’s just me, him, and a desk calendar. We coordinate pick-ups and drop-offs, make general decisions about dinners (i.e., cooking at home or Chick-Fil-A), and discuss any potential conflicts or surprises. This meeting has become a sanity-staple that I hope to include our girls in when they’re old enough.
2. Schedule fun.
Do you know why dessert is so exciting? I mean, besides the facts that it’s usually something delicious and chocolate and warm? Dessert is exciting because it’s planned fun. It’s a treat to look forward to—the literal icing on the cake. One practice I’ve found helpful is to have something on our family’s calendar that we can all collectively get excited about.
Whether it’s a long weekend to a relative’s house, a slumber party with friends, or a family trip to a gaming center/arcade, we’re always counting down to something in my house. During those weeks when the day-to-day feels like a total grind, the planned fun is something you can use to buoy your spouse, your kids, and—let’s be honest here— yourself!
3. Let yourself off the hook.
Our family has a strict one sport/club per season policy. My daughter rides the school bus. She also eats lunchroom food. We don’t attend every birthday party we’re (our kids are) invited to. My girls wear their hair in neat, easy ponytails almost every day.
Over the years, our family has redefined our list of priorities and we conduct our lives accordingly. We understand that means we may do things a little differently than the family across the street…and we’re okay with that. Mostly. It’s hard to feel like other parents are out-parenting us, which is an easy illusion to buy into.
Are you familiar with this equation?
Social Media + My Insecurities = Parent Guilt, Spouse Guilt, Spiritual Guilt, Fitness Guilt, Friend Guilt, Guilt
I’ve had to learn the hard way it’s not healthy to be influenced or pressured to “do life” the way it *appears* others do. In the words of someone super famous that I’m not trendy enough to know, You do you, parents.
You can be a great parent and still let yourself (and your family) off the hook! Prioritize, simplify, and don’t apologize for guarding the gates of your family’s calendar.
Jr. Zone, Zone and Club 45 begin September 20!
Keep God in their week! Sign up your kids for fun, relational and interactive programming on Wednesday nights from 6:30-8 p.m. The programs include Bible story, interactive message, crafts and games each week. Certain weeks have special events such as pizza parties and themed parties with extended game and craft time.
Third Grade Bible Presentation in Worship, Sept. 17
On Sunday, Sept. 17, we continue a beloved tradition at Hyde Park. Our pastors will present our third graders with their very own Bibles during the 9:30 or 11 a.m. worship services at Hyde Park and the 5:30 p.m. Portico service. If you would like your child to receive a Bible that day, please RSVP here.
Third Grade Bible Boot Camp, Sept. 17
Ten hut! In this six-week Bible basic training, third graders will drill through Bible basics of the Old and New Testaments in a fun and engaging class. The group will meet 11 a.m. – noon Sundays, beginning Sept. 17, in Wesley Center Room 302. Kids will learn how to use their Bibles and apply them in their everyday lives. Sign up here.
Parents, you’ll also want to mark your calendars for Sunday, October 29. From 9:30 – 10 a.m., the kids will challenge their parents in a fun version of “Are You Smarter Than a 3rd Grader? – Bible Boot Camp edition. Following the friendly competition, families will enjoy a reception with light refreshments and snacks from 10 – 10:30 a.m.
Third Grade Bible Parent Class, Sept. 24
Help your family grow spiritually with a three-week equipping class for parents of third graders. Topics include how to have family devotions, how to help your children use the Bible, and how to be blessed with the Bible. The class will meet 10:45 a.m. – noon Sundays, beginning Sept. 24, in Wesley Center Room 301. Sign up here.
On October 29, a special blessing will take place in the 11 a.m. Sanctuary service for the parents who participated in this Faith Step class with their children.
On Sunday, Aug. 13 our children “moved up” to their new classes in Sunday Morning Live! View photos from the fun morning below:
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 God is with them all the time and 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.
Don’t give in to the end of summer blues.
Author John Acuff says “You set the pace with your kids. You set the vibe. You are the emotional barometer in a lot of ways.” First off, remind them of how much fun they’ll have seeing their old friends and making new ones. Help them recognize all the great things that a school day has to offer. All happiness and sunshine and fun isn’t over just because school has started and summer is ‘over’. Wring every last drop from this time of year. Have a water balloon fight the week school starts. Grab ice cream Tuesday afternoon after school. Go for a family walk after dinner on Thursday. Stay in the pool all day on Saturday. Be intentional to keep enjoying ‘the summer’ together.
Write a handwritten note on and include it in their lunch boxes or put it where they can easily find it around the house (on their pillow, at the breakfast table, the bathroom mirror). Include Bible verses like Joshua 1:9, Numbers 6:24-26, Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 28:20, Proverbs 3:5, Hebrews 13:5, Ephesians 4:32, Psalm 136:1 and Psalm 118:24. Write a few sentences about their specific strengths and skills. 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.
• I love you.
• I’m thankful for you.
• I prayed for you today.
• I can’t wait to hear about your day!
• What three things are you thankful for today?
• Let’s visit Grandma and Grandpa this weekend.
• Make someone smile today.
• Pray for a classmate today.
• Remember to thank your teacher.
• Pray for your teacher today.
• I can’t wait to see you after school . . . let’s do something fun together!
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 anxious about school.
Pray for your child
I’m overwhelmed by your grace in calling me to parent.
And I am so thankful you have promised to lead our family.
I pray we don’t get in your way!
But when we do, lead us to realize we are, and to rejoice in your forgiveness.
God, please continue to parent me as I parent my children.
Send your Spirit to guide my family and strengthen our faith as you have promised to do.
Grow our love for each other, strengthen our relationships and teach me how to pray for my family.
Increase our faith in you and love for each other.
Heavenly Father, I love being your treasured child!
May my children experience that same joy in their relationship with you and with me.
God, I love you.
I pray and ask all of this in your precious name, Amen.
Adapted from © 2017 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.