I just saw my grandson today. He’s 15 months old and recently got his very first haircut. He looks like a young boy way too soon.
I swear just five minutes ago he was a newborn with eyes wide open looking at the world for the very first time. He’s walking now and quietly says, “What’s that?” when he sees something new. I just can’t get enough time with him.
Soon, the sprinkler with hours of summer fun will be put away. The popsicles will turn to hot chocolate. The smell of outdoor barbecues will turn into the smell of pot roast from the oven. There’s nothing like the laughter of children in the back yard to remind us of the joys of motherhood.
It also reminds us how quickly our own children grow up.
Just five minutes ago, I was a mother of little ones—and now my little one’s little ones will be heading off to school in just a few weeks. Yes, we heave a sigh of relief as the new school year starts. We also check off another summer gone in the role of motherhood.
As we brace for the new school year to begin, I want to give us five ways to get the most joy out of our child’s new school year:
1. Turn off the phones, turn off the radio and listen to your children as you drive to and from school. You will create an atmosphere of communication, which will open the door to hear what our children have to say. With a drive that is a short distance, children are more apt to talk. They know they have a quick escape route if things were to ever get unpleasant.
2. When your children get in the car, don’t ask, “How was your day at school?” You are sure to get a quick short answer and then silence afterwards. “Fine, said Susie.” Instead, greet them with a hello and tell them how good it is to see them. Next, just sit there quietly, and I guarantee you, the floodgates of communication will open up.
3. Write a note every now and then and put it in their lunch or backpack. You can spice it up with stickers and crayons. No one is ever too young or too old for a love note. We never stop needing love.
4. The family sits down to dinner as much as possible, and we all put down our phones and turn off the TV. As your children talk about their day, look them in the eye and listen. You may be surprised what you can learn by giving them your undivided attention. Talk less and listen more. A family that eats together will stay together.
5. If possible, show up to every school event. Sharing in our child’s school’s activities sends a clear signal to them that we think school is important.
In just a couple weeks, the school bus will stop in front of our homes. We will let go of our child’s hand. He walks slowly to the bus. He turns to look back. We wave and smile. He waves and smiles back. It really was just five minutes ago, that he too was just a newborn.
Children grow up so quickly and we don’t want to miss a second of it. Being present is the best gift we can give our children. Don’t waste a minute of our children’s childhood. In five minutes, it will be over.
Author: Pamela Chambers
Image: Flickr/Melissa Gutierrez
Apprentice Editor: Robert Busch; Editors: Emily Bartran, Travis May