How to Make Your Kids Want to Go to School

School may be exciting for some kids, but not all of them may be thrilled by the new arrangement.

Although we know school is a must for our kids, not all of them may be thrilled by the idea of having new playmates or learning something new. It’s a new environment with all kinds of kids, new teachers, new toys, and that’s a lot for our kids to take in. It also doesn’t help that not all schools allow parents to stay with them—leaving our kids to figure things out by themselves. If they’re highly sensitive then, school will be more of a nightmare for them!

But we know school is good for them because they meet friends their age and learn new things. Here’s what we can do if our kids don’t like or are hesitant to go to school.

Kid and parent talking before going to school

1. Find out why the kids don’t want to go.

It’s easier to address the problem when we know why they don’t want to go. Sometimes, it can be because they’ve met someone who makes them feel uncomfortable. Or, they can sense that we’re not ready to “let them go” yet. Although these things may seem “little” to us, we need to remind ourselves that our being “big people” is why these problems seem small to us.

Before going to bed, maybe school can be the pillow talk topic of the night for us and the kids. It also helps soothe their anxiety which gives them better quality sleep and thus, puts them in a better mood.

2. Avoid sharing your misgivings about school.

Kids learn their biases from us and by hearing us speak ill of the other kids, parents, teachers, or the school, they’ll be afraid. They’ll be thinking, “Why is my mom or dad sending me there if they don’t like it?” Unlike adults, kids see the world as “black and white.” If we don’t like the school, why should they like it?

Instead, highlight all the good things that can possibly happen in school. Meeting new friends, eating their favorite snacks, and exchanging them for better snacks with other kids—those are just some of the things we can hype about with them.

Some parents even sell the idea of school to their kids as a “place with new toys and books,” making it more of a playground than a learning institute.

3. Become friends with their teachers.

Our kids, when they go to school, meet their second parents: their teachers! Working together with the teacher by knowing what their lessons were for that day and finding out if our kids misbehaved also shows our kids who to run to when in trouble. They will see their teachers as a “safe” person to be with and feel less anxious when we drop them off at school.

Being friends with our kids’ teachers also helps soothe our own separation anxiety. Parenting takes a village and adding one more person to the village—especially the one who is responsible for our kids’ education—assures us that there’s someone who aligns with our beliefs for our kids.

4. If something bad happens in school, listen to your kids first.

Kids may be kids, but when bad things such as bullying or a bad fall happen, avoid dismissing the issue. These are still big feelings for little people and they’re trying to find the “right” way to process it. Sometimes, however, they won’t talk about it immediately even after we ask. But sitting with them and being within hearing range shows that we’re available and ready to listen. Eventually, they’ll open up.

We know that the protective mama or papa bear (or T-Rex) is ready to chew out the “brat” that hurt our baby but avoid giving in to it. When we show our kids that we’re ready to wage war against the other kids, we show two things: we’re willing to fight for them (which they already know) but at the same time, school is a terrible place and everybody’s out to get them.

Instead, highlight the good things that happened to them in school. That way, they learn that school is beyond that bad moment.

5. Let them choose which bag they want to bring to school.

Not all schools allow kids to run around in civilian wear so, allowing kids to choose their bags gives them a sense of familiarity when they enter a new environment. These bags will act like a security blanket and if things go south at school, it’ll be the one good thing that happened to our kids today.

Eventually, the bag will also become a signal for their routine, allowing school time to seamlessly become part of their lives.

6. Avoid being late in picking up your kids from school.

It’s fine if we’re late for 5 minutes or so to pick up the kids from school. But leaving them there for hours is traumatizing and their classmates can say all sorts of things—well-intended, mean, crazy (or even all three!) to explain why we’re not there to pick them up. Besides, picking them up on time also shows how much we value punctuality—a virtue we want to embed in our kids as they get older.

But there will be days when the traffic is too much or work saddled us with something last minute. If that’s the case, we can message the teacher to inform our kids ahead of time (if they’re okay with it!) or send their favorite relative to pick them up.

Don’t forget to inform the teacher that someone else is picking them up and make sure that the relative has proof that they’re related to our kids! It’s for security’s sake.

7. Have an after-school snack waiting for them in the car!

When kids come out of school, they might be in a bad mood simply because they’re tired. They’ve been playing all day, talking with the teacher, going through books, and many other things that are taxing for our favorite little people. With their low energy levels, an after-school snack is just what they need to perk them up to talk about what happened in school.

It also helps them associate more good things with school time, making it easier for us to pull them out of bed to go to school.

Parents talking to their kid about going to school

It’s okay if it takes our kids a while to like school!

Let’s be honest: we didn’t like school too much either, especially when we just sat around and listened to a person talk for the next hour. Although many traditional schools still teach that way, other schools employ other teaching strategies to make learning fun and it’s up to us to figure out which one best suits our child.

But getting our kids to like the idea of school is only half the battle; choosing a school we know that our kids will love but at the same time address their needs is the other half. Once we win both battles, waking the kids up to bring them to school won’t be such a big war in the morning anymore. The best part is, we’ll have a little more me-time for ourselves!

More about kids and school?

Traditional vs. Progressive Schools: Which is Best for Your Child?
Where Did We Go Wrong With Teaching Kids In School?
Common School Baon Mistakes to Avoid

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