10 Ways to Get Kids Excited for School

10 Ways to Get Kids Excited for School

Going back to school can be daunting, but these tips help make it more fun.

By Lorraine Allen

The first days of a new school year may be exciting for some kids, but for many, including my own rising second grader, there’s a lot of anxiety and even some fear brewing. Kids might be worried about meeting new people and being faced with all kinds of new challenges, academically and otherwise. It can be a lot to juggle, emotionally. But school is also fun, and as parents, it’s our job to help our kids get excited so they can approach school with a positive attitude and get off to a strong start – not to mention enjoy making new friends and learn a whole lot! Here are some ways to do just that:

1. Line up some playtime with existing school friends. Or, if your kid is starting (or has started) a new school this fall, try reaching out through local parenting groups or even the PTA to find some peers your child could meet, so they’ll know a friendly face or two on the first day.

2. Talk about past fun school moments. Even if it was their first week of nursery school or daycare, it counts!

3. Look at your own old school photos, or read a book about first-day jitters. Seeing pictures and reading stories about kids who have been through what they are going through can help ease anxiety about starting a new grade.

4. Tell kids about your own first memories at school. Kids love to hear about when their parents were kids, and telling them how you handled your own fears or anxiety can help normalize the situation so they don’t feel so alone.

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5. Walk them through what a first day feels like and what they might do. You can even make this a game where you play student and they play teacher on the first day. Kids love this!

6. Let them pick out a special outfit. Help kids of all ages feel in control of how they will look and feel heading off to a new classroom by letting them pick out their own favorite outfit and shoes, or maybe getting a new haircut.


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7. Watch shows or movies about school-aged kids that are about the same age and grade as your own child. Bookstores and library shelves are full of these right now, specifically to help kids transition back to school. You can spend an afternoon checking these out together.

8. Let kids pick out a new backpack or lunchbox or pencil case in whatever color or pattern they want, so they are sure to have something they love close to them all day.

9. Bake something together for their first school snack or lunch, so they’ll have something to look forward to during that sometimes difficult, long first day. (Muffins, banana bread, corn bread or oatmeal raisin cookies are all easy-to-make kid favorites and pretty nutritious, as far as a treats go!)

10. Promise them a little surprise will be waiting for them when they get home. Having something extra special to look forward to, even if it’s just a balloon or their favorite dinner, makes any tough day go by faster.

How do you help your kids get excited about school?

Lorraine is a freelance parenting and food writer, and she shares her cooking adventures and family recipes at FeedingLina.com. She lives in New York with her family and one squirrel-obsessed dog. Follow her @feedingLina.

Image ©iStock.com/Ulf Amundsen

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