Try These Tips to Make Going Back to School More Joyful for Kids

Check out these parenting hacks to help make the return to school more enjoyable for kids.

Little girl heading to her first day back at school

(Africa Studio /

It’s a new year! Fresh clothes and colorful school supplies. Carefully-chosen backpacks and not-broken-into-yet shoes. The sky is bright, and the air has an undeniable scent of possibility. Yes, back-to-school season is definitely here. 

And who doesn’t love a clean slate? Starting fresh is exciting. A new leaf, new beginnings. New people, places and things. At the same time, most of us also experience feelings of nervousness, anxiety and sometimes fear when it comes to new things — and this isn’t a bad thing. It’s completely normal and part of the human experience! As Adrienne and Bob say in their blog, Wake the Fun Up, new beginnings are both scary and magical. And that’s OK.

So, whether your child is bursting with excitement about the new school year or is a bit nervous, here are a few strategies that will help you stay positive and make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Let kids have a say 

Being a kid is fun, but it can also be hard at times. The reality is that kids, unlike adults, can't do what they want, where they want, when they want. This is why, according to the Love and Logic Institute (advocating research-driven, positive parenting),  it is  recommended to, when possible, to let them have a say and be involved in the decision-making process. Their approach is that our quality of life depends on the quality of our choices, and that there is value in teaching this early on in life (with age-appropriate choices of course).
For a child in the early years of elementary school, this might mean choosing what to wear to school the next day, which lunch to take, and which activities or after school clubs to be a part of. Although to adults some of these choices might seem insignificant, it can mean the world to a child. Showing up to school in the outfit that they chose will make them feel great!

Kids having a phone call with tin cans

(Phovoir /

Planning ahead is key

Planning ahead is key to success in most areas of life, including parenting, according to mindbodygreen. This is true on both a practical level and an emotional one.  It’s good for kids to be included in the plans and to know what to expect, shares Caroline Maguire, M.Ed. This is especially true these days, since the Pandemic has created more unknowns than what is typical.

When you have an anxious child on your hands it's important to keep in mind that telling them “everything will be OK” isn't enough, suggests Psychology Today, when discussing a return to school during the ongoing Pandemic. Youngsters need something more concrete, something to hold on to. Going to visit the school building, for example, can help kids who are starting first grade or a new school. Meeting classmates before the first day of school is also a great way to prepare. There are so many great ways to prepare our children and help them have an easier time.
Also, sometimes just talking about things is helpful. According to the Resilient Educator, a portal for educators by educators , when someone feels prepared and organized, it can go a long way when it comes to starting a new year. Mentally preparing for situations is a great way for a child to feel confident and good about what will happen throughout the day. 

Adding a sweet note to their lunch box or backpack is another good way to put a smile on your child’s face. It takes some prep but is pretty quick and simple. The one or two minutes spent writing can almost guarantee that feel-good energy and connection we all want our kids to have.

Child planning ahead

(Sunny studio /

Self-reflection can benefit parents

Let's be honest- sometimes, whether we intend to or not, we as parents project our own feelings to our children. Kidspot recommends self-reflecting and trying to separate what is happening for us from what is happening for them. Maybe we are super happy about the teacher and can’t imagine they would feel differently. Or maybe we are the ones who are anxious about their new school, not them. Whichever the case, it is a great idea to take a step back, check in with ourselves and ask questions. If something doesn't feel right, ask yourself why. Think about it. Reflect. And remember, your child might be having a completely different experience, and might be loving school!

Wishing everyone, children, parents and teachers too, an amazing new school year, full of learning and creativity, discovery and fun! Make sure to take pictures and capture these special moments! And maybe, if we look at the pictures closely, we’ll see the camera caught the excitement of the season in their twinkling eyes. 

Cute kid drawing while her parents watch her from the sofa

(fizkes /