Tips for The Back to School Cray-Cray!
By Debi Chapman
Another school year has launched and most of us moms dream of well ordered days along the path of our educational journey. But in reality, life has taken a busy turn in the direction of ‘hurry-up or we’ll be late’. Transition into the fall season is a bumpy road, especially for moms with school-aged kiddos. Amidst the hairpin turns, on the road to well planned days, debris clutters our path and discouragement blocks our way.
When the life we envision and the days we experience are at odds it’s encouraging to remember…
…there’s a way out. We can sow into the soil of tomorrow what we lack today. If we keep planting, before long we will have a fresh crop of life-giving options.
“Sow an act and reap a habit.
Sow a habit and reap a character.
Sow a character and reap a destiny.”
Every emotionally healthy mom wants her children to grow strong in body, soul, and spirit.
We create the environment for our children to flourish.
The infrastructure of our days consist of routines and we have the privilege of creating them.
In nature sowing seeds looks over simplified. Can a handful of tiny seeds stuffed beneath the surface make a difference after all? In reality, one seed at a time, the crops of tomorrow are planted today.
Let’s look at 3 areas of home life – Clutter, Play, and Rest.
Envision with me seeds of change to bring about the results we all desire.
We all have it. Call it what you will: debris, stuff, extras, memorabilia, rubbish. We often navigate around stacks and piles of clutter like we weave through orange cones in a construction zone. And the result? They slow us down!
Now, hear me out. A mountain of clutter can be tackled amidst a busy life. To declutter is to declare war and fight the battle in small intervals if necessary. Where you conquer a few items each day or invest a Saturday morning, mountains can be chiseled away one Goodwill bag at a time.
Try stacking items into three bags labeled: 1)Keep 2)Toss 3)Think about – later!
Bag #1 is easy to identify. These are your treasured items preserved by you.
Bag #2 Once filled take it straight to the car and deliver to the thrift store right away! I promise you’ll feel more clear headed once it’s gone for good. Don’t look back!
Bag #3 is not to be worried over because you may keep these items after all. Maybe you’ve saved schoolbooks for another year but don’t need them now. Place the bag in your garage or attic and think about it later – much later. Meanwhile, your cluttered areas are evolving into the home you see in your dreams. Bonus; you can more easily find what you need and distractions are limited.
A proactive parent sets the atmosphere for creativity, like a curator. Distractions hinder the art of living. Once clutter is removed our kids can focus more fully and we can breathe.
Sowing areas of meaningful play take the planning of a CEO to execute and the tenacity of a security guard to protect. Somehow the bully of busyness pushes aside our heartfelt dreams of children reading quietly by the fire.
Try gathering a basket full of new library books and carve out a reading nook. Sow into your child’s mind by changing out the books every month or so. Soon you’ll see the visual stimulation of well crafted books and curiosity of story forms settle restless children. Provide a place to focus their natural mental energy. This simple tradition kept our kids in the books and sowed the seeds of a well developed mind over time.
Outdoor play works in a similar way. Take some time to focus on your outside area and picture it as a child. They need a safe place to hang-out, literally. Outdoors is where they can push, pull, tug, flip, and try all their big moves. You’ll see with little effort and few resources an outdoor haven can be established. This secret garden may just be the fertile ground your children need for little imaginations to dream and make big plans for tomorrow.
Whether indoor our outdoor – home is where habits are forged. We adults know the power of habit to affect the long-range of destiny. Simply put – it all starts with the dynamo of a seed carefully tucked away for tomorrow.
Children’s brains are hardwired for what child development experts call large motor activity, which translates in mom-talk to running and jumping, swimming and climbing, and flipping and kicking (to name a few examples). All those wild and crazy moves are heaven inspired. With some advanced planning a proactive parent can sow into a regular day a lifetime of memories.
Each day starts the night before. Sowing restful habits can’t be overrated. We all know how difficult a day can be with a restless child. Bedtime can be the most fretful portion of a mother’s day. Here’s some ideas to ease the process.
Fluff up the pillows and change out the bedding. New bedding can make all the difference in a comfortable place to land. Textures and sensations are what dreams are made of for little ones. Sow soft surroundings into your children’s sleeping area. Take a critical look at where they spend the majority of their hours. Is it time for a new mattress? Sometimes the smallest changes make a big difference in a child’s ability to rest and re-power for the next day.
Many children are sleep deprived in today’s world of distractions. I believe this area is a first-line-of-defense in nurturing little people.
Bedtime rituals also make a big difference in helping a child wind down for the night. Bath time, comfy pajamas (we prefer cotton), soft music, reading a special book, and a room with little clutter can make for a child’s dream. We diffuse essential oils through the night to boost the sensory atmosphere. Save heavy conversations for the next day and end each day with a faithful hug.
We all have big plans for our children but often the realities of daily life choke out our ideals. Let’s stop and sow seeds, on purpose, of what we dream of harvesting tomorrow.
We all know we reap what we sow – it’s the law of the land.
As a college student, Debi asked the Lord to send her to the front lines of ministry. Armed with a newfound devotion to Christ and a Child Development background, Debi married her college sweetheart. Together they began to dream of what a family could become.
Thirty-six years later, Tim and Debi have eleven children, six grandchildren, and lives filled with front-line battle scars and victories beyond measure.