Make Your Kids WANT to Go Back to School
We, as parents, have all heard our kids say these things from time to time. We, when kids, said them ourselves. So, how do we get our kids excited for going back to school? How do we get them to happily leave their lounging, couch vegging, game-playing-all-day, TV-watching-more-than-they-should summer lazy days and go back to the routines, the rules, the work?
Well, when I put it that way, it seems insurmountable. I want to return to those days of no responsibility a bit myself!
Alas, that’s not reality. So, how do we do it? Remind them of the parts of school they will want to revisit. That’s how!
Depending on your kids’ reluctance level, any one of the items in this list could be enough for that spark to hit them where they want to go back to school (at least for that fun first day). For those stuck in their summer ways, it may take the whole list!Friends
First and foremost, remind them of the friends they haven’t seen all summer. This will usually get any kid at least a little interested. Sure, they may have seen some of their besties during the summer, in sleepovers or sports activities, but they haven’t seen some of them.Back to School Shopping
Shopping for clothes and school supplies is exciting. Your kids get to pick out their bookbag, their Trapper Keeper… (or whatever kids are using these days), the lunchboxes, and so on. They are all plastered with kids’ favorite characters from TV, movies, and more. Each selection is something that speaks to your kid’s identity, what makes them happy. So, they’ll be excited to go show these things off at school.
Also, kids love figuring out what that first day outfit is going to be. As long as you’re not the parents from Will Smith’s “Parents Just Don’t Understand” and pushing butterfly collars and the like on your kids, they will be excited to show off their style. If your child is in a school that requires a uniform, they can still find ways to show off their own personal style.Activities
You want your kids to WANT to go to school? Get them involved in a group activity they enjoy. Whether it’s a sport or a club, they’ll connect to other kids of similar interests that they can bond with and want to go interact with at school.
Activities outside of the school system would count too as long as they are local to your school. My kids are in scouting and rec league soccer, for example. If you put your kids in organizations in your hometown, the group will be filled with kids from their school.
The following websites can be helpful in finding something fun for your kids nearby:
Baseball – http://www.pony.org/home/default.asp,
Football – http://www.popwarner.com/,
Basketball – http://yboa.org/page.php?page_id=33846
One thing all kids dread is getting a mean teacher. You can alleviate much of this fear by visiting your school’s open house and finding out which teacher you’re getting. Most do a meet n’ greet, so introductions can be made that will make your kids feel a little more at ease.Make Learning Fun
School doesn’t have to be terrible. It can be fun. No, really, it can be. All you have to do is find the fun. Read to your kids. Do math with them, turn learning into games. History? There are plenty of condensed, animated history “documentaries” on YouTube that your kids will enjoy watching. Science? There’s nothing more fun than doing exciting science experiments with your kids. They’ll be learning, and you’ll be making memories for a lifetime.
My goal is to do this “fun” learning with my children at home, so when they get to school, they’re already familiar with topics and don’t immediately reject them as “boring”.Lunch Notes
Once your kids are back in school, send words of love and encouragement in notes in their lunchbox. You can send handwritten notes on paper, cards, or some snacks even include places for notes on their packaging.
Another option? Send a note on a banana!Prep Work
All summer, your kids have been lazy. No responsibilities. Lax bedtimes. No homework. Possibly added screen time.
You’ll need to begin correcting all of this ahead of time. Much like an addict, you can’t expect the kids to wake up first day of school and quit their fun summer routine cold turkey! No, you have to wean them. Start getting bedtimes and screen times back to normal a couple of weeks prior to school. Give your kids something to read that they’ll enjoy and have them set aside time each day to read.
This way, when school starts, the change won’t be a shock to their system!If they still really don’t want to go…
Try to discover why. Possibly, your child’s apprehension isn’t just laziness. Sometimes, they may not want to go to school because of anxiety based on what they’re learning. If they aren’t comfortable with the topics their class is covering, they could be fearful or even ashamed to be in that class. You can help with this by covering these topics at home with them so that they understand it when presented in the class. It will increase their comfort level and reduce their chances of embarrassment. I’ve gone over multiplication and division this way with my kids to prep them ahead of their class delving into these topics. Worst case scenario? You don’t know either (we’re looking at you, calculus!). In these times, there’s the Internet.
Another reason, your child may want to avoid school is they’ve encountered a bully situation. Dealing with bullying can be tricky. You can confront the situation as a parent by discussing the issue with the school. You can also teach your kids how to identify bullying and how to stand up to it safely as discussed on stopbullying.gov.
Give this list a try and let us know if it helped your kid get in the mood to go back to school. Did a different tactic work for you? If so, let us know that too.