My Teen Is Actually Excited to Get Back to School. Here’s How We Did It

As the new school year approached, I could see how my teen daughter oscillated between apprehension and excitement. On one hand, going back to school meant she had to face new classes but on the other, she’d get lots of time to hang out with friends.

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From past experience, I knew how difficult it can be to get excited about school again, especially after the long summer holiday. So this year, I came up with these ways to get my kid interested in starting the new school year:

We gave summer a fitting send-off.

My daughter complained that summer had flown by too fast and she didn’t get to do everything she’d wanted. To make it easier for her to put this summer behind her, my wife and I decided to have a celebration. We started by throwing a barbeque party in our backyard then went on one last summer trip as a family. It was good to have this time together before all my teen’s time becomes dominated by schoolwork.

I took my teen shopping.

My daughter usually looks for any excuse to go shopping and what’s better than doing some back-to-school shopping? Although buying stationery didn’t really excite her (who can blame her), picking out a new school wardrobe really got her going. She had lots of fun planning which outfits to show off at school and I got an impromptu lesson on what’s fashionable these days.

My wife and I tempted her with meals.

I don’t know about your kids but my teen loves filling her belly. Although I had little control over how excited she got about going back to school, I could at least get her interested in having a healthy, hearty breakfast, something nice for lunch and a delicious meal for dinner. That way, she’d have something to look forward to every day.

We talked things out.

A few years ago, my teen daughter was really reluctant to go back to school. She cried and even faked illness to get out of it. Upon further examination, I found that the real reason was that another girl kept bullying her and she didn’t want to deal with that again. That’s when I realized how important communication is when it comes to teens.

To ease her mind this year, I had a chat with her about the anxieties, fears and worries she had about school and helped her find some workable solutions beforehand.

We came up with a reward system.

Some parents feel that having some sort of reward system to encourage their kids to perform well in school amounts to bribery. However, I’ve found that it motivates my teen to do better. I came up with a token system where she’ll earn points for improving her grades, taking on new extracurricular activities and even making new friends. These points can then be redeemed later for rewards.

This approach made the back-to-school season less stressful for all of us this time around and my daughter appreciated the effort we put into cheering her on.

Tyler Jacobson is a happy husband, father of three, writer and outreach specialist with experience with organizations that help troubled teens and parents. His areas of focus include: parenting, social media, addiction, mental illness, and issues facing teenagers today.


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