3 Ways to Help Our Kids and Ourselves Return Well to School

3 Ways to Help Our Kids and Ourselves Return Well to School

His eyes appeared crimson and glassy as my son stepped off the bus. It was his third day of First Grade at a new school and I asked him if he’d been crying. His response, “Mommy, I just got punched in the stomach by another kid.”

Silence was all I could offer as I noticed my heart sinking and my anger rising. All of the sudden that free, convenient golden transporter became a conduit of smashing my son’s spirits and another arena I couldn’t control.

What do you do when a grade, a kid, a girl, a rejection from a sports team, mean words, or anger-filled actions push their way into your child’s life crushing their spirit and making them feel alone?

How can they know who they are, hear words of encouragement, and not feel lonely in those scary moments?

How can you have peace as you release your child into a world filled with pain, disappointment, and darkness?

I know our lives are busy and our brains scattered but if we REMEMBER, REHEARSE, and RESPOND, we can help our children and ourselves, return well to school.


Remember God’s Truth. At breakfast, in the car, at dinner, or before bed we need to remind our children of God’ s truth. This might mean we have to learn it for ourselves (see helps at the bottom). But when we do, we will find nuggets of inspiration, encouragement, and wisdom that will help navigate any scary moment.

We can remember by talking about it with our children and praying it over them aloud before they walk out the door, listen to the next top 40 song in the car, or fall into slumber after a long day. It isn’t difficult but it does require intentionality. Some seasons, I have been intentional and other seasons not, but I won’t let what I haven’t done get in the way of what I can do in the future.

2nd – Rehearse.

Rehearse God’s Truth. I know this one is a bit daunting, but the only way we can know the truth has gotten into our minds and theirs, is if we memorize it. When we memorize God’s truth, we are rehearsing it in our hearts’ and minds’ eye. It is as if we are pre-determining how to think about ourselves and how to respond when a difficult moment demands it.

We can rehearse or memorize by breaking apart a verse into little chunks and doing call and response with our children. For my little guys, we add active motions they can act out as we say the words and they have a blast doing it. Maybe write it on the mirror or window with a dry erase marker for your tween to see. Make them look by writing with lipstick!

3rd – Respond.

Respond according to God’s Truth. If we have been intentional to remember God’s truth and rehearse it, it will help us to respond accordingly. Now this one we won’t always get right but I am confident we will be given ample opportunities to choose to respond according to God’s ways.

When my son got off the bus and shared of his gut punching moment, there were many different ways to respond. But you see my son and I had been remembering and rehearsing a verse he had learned a prior week at camp.


[Remember] I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave.

Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the Lord your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9 Contemporary English Version


So after I got an understanding of the situation, spoke with the bus driver, and checked in to see how his heart was doing. We talked about how we were going to have hard moments at school, but what could we remember God’s words to us.

We could remember to be strong and brave, to not be terrified or loose hope. We remembered that the Lord, He is a great and loving and powerful Daddy. That He would be with my son and I, in all moments good and difficult and that we could trust Him to help us.

Then, we prayed together for protection and courage and for the other child that we could love him as God loves us.  We rehearsed our verse Joshua 1:9 and moved on.

The next day, when my son came joyfully bounding off the bus, I asked him how the bus ride went.

His response, “Great Mom. No one punched, kicked, or hurt me.”

My response, “Thank you Father, for helping my son, wherever he would go.”

As our kids have started back to school, I invite us to Remember, Rehearse, and Respond using the verse Joshua 1:9. Take a week, two, or a month even with this one verse. Let’s talk about it when we sit and when we ride. Let’s see if it doesn’t write itself on our minds and come pouring out of our hearts as our children and we respond well, as we return to school.


Bible Helps:

  • Bible Gateway – Your online Bible reference for any verse, topic, or key word in any translation.
  • You Version App – A free downloadable Bible app for your phone equipped with a verse of the day that can help you on your way.
About Erin Nicole Thompson

Erin Nicole Thompson is a fun-loving and authentic momma to 4 littles, wife of a ruggedly handsome Pastor, and as she likes to think, the CEO of her home operations. She delights in worship, cooking with good music, the sweet faces of her sleeping children, adult conversations, and some quiet time at Starbucks. She loves to serve alongside, encourage, and equip young and seasoned women. Erin is grateful to be part of what God is doing at The Chapel, a multi-campus church in Northern Chicago-land where her husband, Dave, pastors the Lake Zurich Campus. Presently, she lives to dream and follow God as he writes her story.

  • Sam Stella

    Great post Erin.

  • Tracey Wamsley

    My heart breaks that your sweet boy would be hurt like this. What great wisdom God has given you in your parenting. You are an inspiration by how you turn to God for peace and guidance in a tough situation.