The long summer days of sunshine, pooltime, travel, and enjoying a leisurely schedule are coming to a close as a new school year quickly approaches.
Some kids enjoy all of the excitement and promise of a new school year but others may find the thought of waking up early, completing nightly homework, and the stress that goes along with maintaining good grades something to dread rather than look forward to. Parents can help get kids excited for the new school year so they don’t lose their motivation before the school year even starts.
Set a Good Example
For busy parents, it can be easy to get down about the thought of getting up early, packing lunches, helping with homework, shopping for school supplies, and prodding the kids out the door every morning. Our kids feed off of our attitude and if we are dreading the back-to-school routine, chances are they will too. On the other hand, if a parent focuses on the positives of a new school year such as having a fresh start with a new teacher, making new friends, and the fun of being challenged and learning new things, our kids will feed off of this excitement and start to look forward to a new school year also.
Use What They Love
A great way to motivate a child is to use something they are already looking forward to. If you have a social child, then remind them they will have daily time with friends. If they love sports, remind them they will have the opportunity to participate in P.E. class, play at recess, or participate in school sports. If they have a favorite subject, focus on the opportunity to learn more throughout the school year. Encourage your child to get involved in clubs and activities that include things that they love and are interested in. For some kids, buying a new backpack and school supplies will be a great motivator for them. Consider what will motivate your child and focus on the positive aspects that are related to school and what your child loves about it.
One way to motivate your kids is to be honest with them about the importance of a good education. School is necessary and important for your child to build their skills in reading, math, science, and understanding the world around them. It’s also important to do well in school if they would like to continue on to college. For younger kids, college may seem like the distant future. Parents can explain that they use reading and math skills every day. The teamwork and social skills they learn in school will also help them learn to work with others in sports and play.
Create Healthy Habits
Encourage your child to get a good night’s rest, eat a healthy breakfast, and focus on good study habits. An after school routine to complete homework and chores will help your child adjust to the back-to-school routine. Set aside time for free time as well. Host a playdate, have a movie night, go to the park, and schedule time for fun and relaxation so kids don’t get too bored with their routine.
Share Your Expectations
It’s important to let your child know you have high expectations for the upcoming school year. Work with your child to set goals for success and reward them for meeting their goals. Some kids may need an academic goal, while others need goals such as no tardies for the quarter or turning all assignments in on time. It may help to communicate with your child’s teacher to come up with some beneficial goals for your child. Rewards could include a special outing as a family, going out for ice cream, picking out a special toy, or extra screen time.
As your family kicks off a new school year, try to stay positive and use things that already motivate your child to get them excited about the new school year ahead.
Sarah Lyons is a freelance writer and frequent contributor.