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How to Make Back to School Go More Smoothly

August 03, 2018

Back to School with cuddles and support from Gund

Starting a school year can be both exciting and scary for children. Some kids might look forward to seeing school friends and the thrill of learning new things. Many children worry about academic challenges or the social pressures of being in a school setting. Regardless of your children’s feelings about school, here are ways to make the start of a school year a little easier.

Go Back with Friends

A new school year can always be scary for children, particularly if they don’t know if they’ll have any friends in their classes. Making friends can be intimidating, particularly for children who are shy or have less developed social skills. One way to make things a little easier is to let your kids go to school with a friend. Something familiar can make your children feel more confident. Favourite soft toys might be good options for younger kids attending nursery or school (see our collection today). For children who are a little older, a plush toy keychain or pencil topper of a character they like can be comforting.

Other ways to give your children a little moral support or a conversation piece are to equip them with a superhero backpack or a pencil keeper covered with characters from a popular cartoon. Folders or notebooks in fun designs your children like can be options. If the school allows children to wear t-shirts, ones with images from movies or television shows your children admire is another way to make your kids feel less alone.  


It is amazing how quickly what your children learned during the previous school year can be pushed to the back of their minds. One way to help them start off the new year with more confidence is to spend a little time reviewing what they already know. Sitting down for a formal review could make kids feel overly pressured but you can find other ways to refresh their memories. Make a game out of adding up the number of pieces of fruit you’re buying at the store. Visit a child-friendly science museum to reacquaint your children with things they already know or build their interest in learning more. Use this as a chance to provide positive feedback to your children on what they do know so they can see that learning and knowing the right answers can be fun.  


If your children know how to read, the summer is the ideal time to practice. Plan visits to the public library to give your kids a chance to check out books they would enjoy to keep them entertained. Rather than using a video in the car to keep your children busy while on road trips or going shopping, make that a chance for your kids to enjoy reading. Don’t make reading a punishment. Make it something fun they can do, even if that means your car’s video system needs to be “broken” for a while to give your kids an opportunity to take a break from watching television.

Buying your children books that they like. Even comic books can be good ways to encourage them to think of reading as a special treat, rather than a requirement in school. You can ask your children to read off signs as you drive along. Make a game out of giving them each a list of items to find at the store so they practice reading while having a chance to be successful.

If your children will be attending a new school, start talking about school ahead of time so they have a chance to become accustomed to the new routine or different location. Get them familiar with the school campus, their route to and from school, and what they should expect. Do a walk through of the school before classes start so your children can meet their teachers and find out where their classes will be held before the first hectic day of school.   

Be Positive

Any child who doesn’t enjoy school will groan at overly perky adults talking about how wonderful school is. On the other hand, you don’t want to add to your children’s stress by saying negative things about the upcoming school experience. Try to highlight parts of the school experience your children enjoyed like their favourite subjects or getting to see their friends. Look for ways to increase the positive associations with school. That could mean focusing more on the parts of the school experience your child likes. In addition to new notebooks and backpacks, you can talk about getting new shoes for when they try out for the school team or buying coloured pencils for their art classes. You still want learning to be important but that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage your children to also excel in areas of school they prefer.  

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