Back To School: Motivating Your Kids Matters
It’s good to see them get back into the school groove so seamlessly. It makes me glad I put so much thought into all the little things. Yes, we did the clothes shopping and buying school supplies – trust me, a cool new Spiderman t-shirt, a fresh box of pencils and some nice erasers can get any kid psyched about school.
I took them to the grocery store specifically to pick out snacks so they’d have something tasty to munch on at recess. They got brand new haircuts and new toothbrushes so that they can be extra clean and neat. I also bought my third grader some deodorant! I can’t believe he needs it but he does!
But, even with all the “new” stuff, the most important thing has been the constant conversations we have around setting and achieving goals.
Because I used to be a teacher, I know how important it is to build motivation and the desire for knowledge in children. That motivation and desire is what really gives kids the confidence to walk into a new classroom with an “I can do this!” attitude. A teacher can help with that, but I really believe it’s something that kids have to hear at home, too.
I don’t believe in boring sit-down lectures about setting goals and working to achieve them. Instead, every year on the day before school starts we head out to Venice Beach for our very last end-of-summer vacation fling. This year, as we sat on the edge of the shore, letting waves splash over us, we shared our favorite memories from the summer and then we each said what we were looking forward to most about the new school year.
Yes, my first grader said he was looking forward to seeing all his girlfriends again. All 279 of them! Never mind that he doesn’t even KNOW 279 girls! (Yes, I know there’s girl-drama in my future!) But once we got past that, he talked about wanting to become a better reader so he can read cool comic books like his brother.
My third grader talked about wanting to be at the top of his class. He wants to be the smartest boy in the class, and he wants to learn even more science so he can be an astronaut… and an actor. I guess he’s going to be an astronaut who acts on the side!
One new thing I talked about with them is not being afraid to ask for help if you need it. The more I read about successful people, the more I’ve noticed how much they ask other people for information or help. My first grader’s response? “Yeah, I’ll definitely need help with all my girlfriends.”
That night my boys were so excited for the next day, the first day of school, they couldn’t sleep! Even my eldest, the child who’s been freaked out all summer over who his teacher would be, was excited!
The morning of the first day, I was so proud to see them walk into their school so confidently. There were no tears from them. I only cried as I watched them trail away in the lines for their new classes, so full of anticipation that they didn’t even give me a backward glance. I’m not complaining though because at least they both still kissed me goodbye!
Lots of us are enjoying the back to school season – an exciting, fun and sometimes, hectic time. Hallmark has put together this great resource to help you calm the butterflies and build your kids’ confidence. Just for joining the conversation you’ll be entered to win a $100 gift card. Check it out.
You can ALSO win a $50 Hallmark gift card courtesy of Hallmark and yours truly, Los Angelista! Just leave me a comment telling me one way you encourage and motivate the children in your life to do well in school! You must live in the continental United States and enter by 11:59 pm on September 18, 2009. Good luck!
UPDATE: We Have A Winner!!!
So happy to share that our randomly chosen winner is Tech Savvy Mama! Thanks everyone for entering and thanks to Hallmark for the gift card!
Be on the lookout for more exciting giveaways this fall here at Los Angelista.