Last Updated: April 2nd, 2019

Is your child dreading going back to school? Can’t think of a way to get them motivated? As a person who has experience with children from ages four through ten, here are some how-to tips to get your kid pumped up to get educated!

Point out the good things

If a child doesn’t want to go to school, they’re probably thinking about what could be bad, what could go wrong. Their mind wraps around tall, mean kids and old, grouchy teachers, and flunking classes and not making any friends. But it may help if you tell them why school is so great. Point out that (for little kids) there’s playtime and the teachers sing, or (for older kids) what fun sports, activities or clubs there may be.

Tell them what school does for them as individuals

Perhaps children hear too many times that what school does for them is allow them to get a college degree. But most youngsters don’t know what that means for their future. Tell your child why they should go to school. Maybe they want to be a veterinarian, or a football player, or a ballerina, or an astronaut… whatever they want to be, point out that they have to go to school if they want to achieve that goal.

Do NOT overpraise them

So many parents, my mother included, overpraise their children, and it doesn’t do what you may think. While you’re telling your child “You’re so smart!” or “You’ll make friends easily,” your child may be thinking, “Well, what if I don’t? And what if I disappoint Mommy because of it?” Overpraising leads to a child not trusting their parent’s opinion, and the only thing it will build up is an ego or a fear of disappointment. And it can also destroy real self-confidence and self-motivation.

Play pretend

For those going into kindergarten, try doing something as simple as playing teacher and student. You can play teacher, or your child can, and you can show them how fun it is! But, if you’re playing teacher, don’t say, “Pop quiz!” or anything concerning things that are too challenging and may stress them out, unless your child is really one to step up to a major challenge. Try using a board (or paper on the wall) and ask the class (your child) to spell a simple word or add two numbers (something your child already knows). When your child raises their hand, call on them, and, when they answer correctly, say, “Very good! You get an A+!” If your child doesn’t answer correctly, still give them an A!

Be excited yourself!

Children tend to copy their parents. So, try being excited about school! I do a volunteer program where I read to and play with preschoolers and, if you’re excited enough, they start becoming interested in reading. You could try reading with enthusiasm, or doing math and spelling with enthusiasm. You could also say, “I loved school when I was younger! Are you excited for school? I’m excited about your school, because you’re going to have so much fun!” You could even add,”Oh, I wish I could be you and go to school!” Since kids look up to their parents so much, knowing that their parents want to be like them could really make them like school!

If you use these tips, you just might have your child wake you up on the first day of school, wearing a backpack and a smile! Try them out and tell me how they worked. Even if you end up losing some sleep and your child chatters up a storm in your ear, trust me: it will all be worth it!

Read more on this topic in QUOTES ABOUT EDUCATION: Some of the top quotations on education, school and learning»

image: Back to school via Shutterstock