While some kids get really excited about going back to school, others would rather not think about it at all. For some, the thought of having to wake up early in the morning and do homework in the evenings after a nice relaxing summer is a dreadful one. If this sounds familiar, fear not. There are ways you can turn things around, and they’re easier than you may realize. If your kids are experiencing back-to-school jitters, here’s how to reframe their way of thinking and make the transition to a new year less stressful for everyone.
Okay, you won’t want to call it a playdate if your kids are older, but whatever you call it, you might find success in letting your kids hang out with their friends during the summertime now and then. That’s because some kids get nervous about whether or not their friends will still want to hang out with them once school starts. Regardless of how minor that sounds to you, it’s a real concern for kids. Consider letting them have some friends over now and then. Summer is great for this, as kids can hang out outside, splash around in their swimsuits, and do things that they’re not able to do during the school year. Sometimes all it takes is a new boys’ or girls’ swimsuit and a few water balloons to build a long-lasting friendship and set the tone for the year ahead.
Getting an answer out of kids isn’t always easy, but simply asking them about why they aren’t excited to go back to school could put you in a better position to help them. It could be that the reason they don’t want to go back is because of something that won’t even be an issue during the upcoming school year, whether it’s a specific class, teacher, or classmate they butted heads with. Or maybe they didn’t like taking the bus and want to walk or ride their bikes to school instead. Revisiting old practices as kids get older and want more responsibilities is important. And reassuring them that you’re willing to negotiate with them can help free their minds from the negativity and focus on the positive things about going back to school, like seeing their friends again or doing sports.
You know how excited you get when you get something new and can’t wait to go out and show it to the world. Kids tend to get the same way when they get a new backpack or lunch box. Consider sitting down with them and looking online for new school gear. Better yet, take them shopping and make a day of it. You’ll want to make sure you help them with this, though, as backpacks should fit properly in order to avoid back pain or slouching. They should also be strong enough to last the year without ripping. If they don’t find a backpack they like, consider getting a plain one for them and letting them decorate it. There are many fun ways to decorate a backpack, whether with permanent markers, patches, or paint.
A new outfit or haircut can do wonders for a kid’s confidence any time of year, but it’s especially helpful when fighting back-to-school jitters. If it’s a new hairstyle that could boost their self-esteem, be sure to book an appointment well in advance since kids’ hairdressers tend to book up quickly at the beginning of the school year. If your kids don’t need a school uniform, they’ll likely need new clothes for the year ahead as well, so consider taking them shopping and letting them choose their outfits.
You don’t have to break the bank either. Buying a capsule wardrobe is a great idea as it involves buying enough outfits to last a week and then being able to mix and match the tops and bottoms with each other to make them look like brand-new outfits on their own. Don’t forget the shoes. You’ll likely need two pairs of kids’ sneakers: one for daily use and one to keep at school for gym class.
A new school year can be overwhelming for kids. Breaking it up into smaller chunks can make it much more manageable. For example, you can talk to the teacher about the main goals for each semester and then make sure they meet the big ones. This doesn’t mean you have to micromanage them, but at least you know whether they’re on track so you can ensure they don’t fall behind and become even more overwhelmed. A little reward at the end of the semester never hurts either, whether it’s a sleepover, a special meal, a movie night, or whatever your kids see as a special treat that’s out of the ordinary.
No parent wants their kids to dislike school. These tips should help your kids not only get excited about going back to school but also enjoy the entire school year ahead.