This time every year my social media feed is filled with precious back to school pictures. There are the first time preschool pics with monogrammed lunch boxes and backpacks. Then we have the elementary school shots with kids in neon sports clothes and horrible tall socks. Is this trend almost over by the way? And finally the stolen shots of middle school and high school kids giving the obligatory, “fine just take the pic Mom” smile.
And I love seeing the chalk boards. Last year, Cam’s board shows that he wanted to be a police officer, “like Judy from Zootopia” when he grows up. And no surprise, Pierson’s shows that he’s grown 4 inches since last August!
But one of things I’ve been pondering as I prepare my kids to go back to school is what do I want my boys to know about themselves before they go back to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love a cheesy chalk board and they’ll always have place in my heart. But more than letting my friends and family know about who my son is at this age, I want Camden to know what I see in him this school year.
So here’s my idea for this year (and if your school year has already begun, you can do this anytime). Grab a poster board on one of your 37 school supply runs and make a list of traits or qualities that you love about your child.
A list of 3-5 words is a good start. Write a brief explanation of what each trait looks like for your child. Camden is a pre-reader so I will read the words to him and explain them on a continual basis. Then tape the poster to the back of your kiddos door, so they start the school year with a concrete list of things you love and admire about them.
Here is a list of traits to get you started and keep this project simple!
- Flexible: You are open to change & adapt quickly to new situations.
- Optimistic: You choose to see the good in people and in life.
- Reliable: Your friends & teachers know they can count on you.
- Tenacious: You don’t give up. You keep working until you find the solution.
- Confident: You believe in your own strengths & abilities.
- Flexible: You are able to change & succeed in different situations.
- Kind: You look to find ways to take care of others.
- Responsible: You can be counted on to do the right thing & finish your tasks.
- Friendly: You seek to include others & make friends feel comfortable.
- Humble: You let your actions speak for themselves and have confidence in yourself.
- Patient: You remain calm during difficult situations.
- Honest: You can be counted on to tell the truth.
- Courageous: You are strong & able to stand-up for what’s right.
- Compassionate: You care about the feelings of others.
- Curious: You are interested in discovering more about the world & how things work.
- Respectful: You are considerate of others & obey the rules.
- Intelligent: You have a strong ability to learn & understand new problems.
- Collaborative: You work well with other students & adults.
- Humorous: You find joy in life and make your friends smile & laugh.
- Leader: You are a strong example to your friends & teachers.
Leave the list up and let them fall asleep and wake up each day to these affirming words. Talk about these traits on good days and bad days. Literally write these words in their hearts. Our kids have so many labels thrown at them by their peers. Lets intentionally put positive words in our kids’ psyches.
So this year, ditch the boards or don’t! But take 10 minutes with your partner or a trusty glass of wine and create a board that will actually have a lasting impact on your littles. And if you’re so-inclined, pray over the list of the traits before you post it to your child’s door.
Good luck and stay sane this school year people!