A Guide to Surviving Back to School

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

Our oldest son starts kindergarten tomorrow.

I am being totally chill about it, and by “totally chill” I mean having constant flashbacks about bringing him home from the hospital in a tiny newborn onesie because HOW CAN MY BABY BE OLD ENOUGH TO START KINDERGARTEN?!?!?!?!

But really, I’m fine.

I’ve put together a back-to-school survival guide so I don’t lose all my marbles, and I wanted to share it with you, dear readers. Perhaps it will help. If not, you’re welcome to join me for an all-day carbohydrate binge to drown our sorrows. That’s my Plan B.

Step One: Pray

Jesus may never have married, but he knows our struggles. He sees the longing way we look at our kids as they head off to preschool or high school or (God help us!) college for the first time. He knows the worries that vibrate within us–did we teach them well enough? Do they know how loved they are?

Step Two: Text any/all friends who are in a similar boat

Half the parents I’ve run into over the last few weeks have a similar look in their eye. It says “school is about to start and I AM NOT READY.”

The other half of the parents are playing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus on repeat because they are 100% out of ideas to entertain their precious small people.

Step Three: Keep the schedule light

Don’t plan a lot for the first weeks. Free up evenings where you can. When the kids aren’t at school, play at home. Familiarity and routine will all be up in the air, so keep things stable how you can – for them and for you.

Step Four: Feel all the things

Feel what you’re feeling. Cry if you need to. Celebrate if you want. Be kind to yourself.

(And if you’re pregnant, like I am currently, give yourself extra grace. Lots of feelings these days. Lotttttts of feelings.)

Step Five: Trust Jesus. 

When my oldest transitioned to sleeping in his own bedroom at three or four-months old, I struggled to sleep. I was so exhausted, but still I sprang out of bed to check on him frequently throughout the night. What if he stopped breathing? What if something went wrong and he never woke up?

Daryl finally had to talk me down from my panic. I’ll never forget his words:

“Jesus is in that room,” he said. “He will watch over our son.”

He didn’t assure me that everything would be okay–bad things happen and we can’t foresee them all, no matter how hard we try. But the presence of the Lord is a promise, and Jesus was (and is) in the room with my children. As Psalm 139 puts it:

You hem me in behind and before; you lay your hand of blessing on my head.

Change is hard. Transitions are tough. Milestones can be bittersweet. Yet Jesus is here.

What’s helping you this back-to-school season?

4 thoughts on “A Guide to Surviving Back to School

  1. Thanks for this. I need this reminder daily – having a kid with special needs makes this a constant issue. But “Jesus is in the room”… so comforting and grounding.


  2. Courtney, I made it through my first day too! I moved from 5th grade to 3rd grade. All went well and I forgot how different 3rd grad could be! I prayed for an easy transition this morning and that Jesus would be in the classroom with this new batch of kids. I feel blessed that he was there and watching over all of us. Thanks for your comforting words!


    1. Hooray and congrats! Praying for a great year for you and your class. My third grade teacher was one of my favorites of all time – I still go back and visit her sometimes. Her passion for teaching made an indelible impact on my little third-grade self. Good teachers are GOLD.


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