6 Ways to Get Kids Excited for Back to School
Those first few weeks before going back to school can fill children with excitement or dread. There are a few reasons why a child might feel apprehensive – from being nervous about meeting new friends to simply wanting to hang onto the chilled‑out vibe of the holiday period. A little preparation goes a long way to helping alleviate kids' anxiety and with the right approach, you can help your little one feel eager and excited about starting the new school year.
1. Do back‑to‑school shopping together
Shiny new shoes, glittery notepads and decorated binders are a great way to get your child motivated about going back to school. Take them along for back‑to‑school shopping with a shopping list and budget (older kids can take this opportunity to practise their maths skills). Going lunch shopping is a fun activity too – your child will love picking out what snacks they'd like to munch on for their first week of school.
Having a little practice opening, closing and packing lunchboxes and schoolbags can also help with independence and making those crazy mornings less fraught.
2. Organise play dates
For some kids, going back to school means having to make some new friends. But not all kids feel comfortable doing so. The playground can feel like a social minefield for shy children. Organising play dates in the lead up to school is a brilliant way to build that all-important support network kids need.
Once the class list comes out, hop on the phone or email and start scheduling play dates with old and new friends to remind your child about one of the best parts about going back to school. Another strategy is to reach out to neighbours heading to the same school or meet other kids and parents at the local park or library (some places may even offer a virtual playgroup or story time). Often children will talk excitedly about starting school together and it's always helpful to have a friend by their side on the very first day.
3. Alphabet breakfasts
Fun is key when trying to get kids excited for school. This is especially true if you were hoping to give them a leg up by helping them learn to read – particularly for reluctant readers. Adopting a fun approach will help kids stay motivated, retain knowledge and develop a positive attitude towards school and learning in the long‑term. Try to engage your child with simple and entertaining home literacy games. A fun thing you can try is alphabet breakfasts:
Alphabet breakfasts activity
'A' on Monday is for apple pancakes.
'B' on Tuesday is for banana oatmeal.
'C' on Wednesday is for cereal.
Have some fun on the first week of school and plan an alphabet breakfast for each day of the week. Let your child suggest some ideas and even let them help with preparing the ingredients. It will be so much more fun to wake up on a school morning and say, “Today is a letter 'E' day for eggs on toast!”
4. Have fun with labels
Children love stickers! Brand new items like school bags, lunchboxes, pencil cases and exercise books are just waiting to be decorated all over. Stock up on stickers, labels and colourful pens and let your child have fun personalising their new items in their own unique way – it will be a great way to motivate them to go back to school and show off to their classmates!
Get them excited about learning to read by making sounding out their labels a fun phonemic awareness activity. Phonemic awareness is a precursor to reading and is easy for parents to teach at home, so kids have a head start. Build their confidence by complimenting their achievements.
5. Make learning fun and varied!
Even if your child isn't looking forward to cracking open the books, they might get excited about sports, music or art. If your little one isn't thrilled about returning to school, focusing on their passions can help them get more interested.
Sing songs together, particularly nursery rhymes. This is a great phonemic awareness activity, as nursery rhymes help your child pick up that rhyming words use the same sound.
Give them some positive screen time 15 minutes a day with an educational app that engages them while teaching them something new. There are so many opportunities to engage kids these days and some limited online time could work best for some.
There are also many extracurricular activities to suit all ages, capabilities and interests. If your child is excited about what's to come after school, it may help them feel more motivated about waking up to a new school day.
6. Scrapbook your memories
Scrapbooking your child's school year is a great way to create memories of a major part of your child's life. Throughout the year, find opportunities to take photos and record memorable events and milestones. Let your child be a part of starting the new scrapbook for the year. Go shopping together to pick out stickers, pens and decals and take photos of them in their school uniform on their first day or waiting for the bus for the very first time. Record what their favourite things are and what they want to be when they grow up – it's always fun to watch how these things change over the years.
Tick off our back‑to‑school readiness checklist
Reading Eggs is offering an essential checklist to help kids and parents with school readiness.
Inside you'll find lots of educational ideas to help boost your child's confidence, including letter-recognition, colour and shape activities, pre‑writing and scissor practice and plenty more!
Helping children re-enter the school gates feeling comfortable and confident is a great relief and sets them off to a great start. We hope these tips have given your family a head start and that your child has a great school year.