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31 Questions to Pump Your Kids Up for School

A new school year. It seems you either dread it or embrace it. For those who embrace it, a new school year is ripe with possibility and opportunities for growth and exploration. A new grade with new friends to make, new topics to learn about, new abilities to test.

But not everyone jumps up and down for back-to-school time. Rather than bemoaning the start of school as if it equals the end of fun, why not poise your child for success by helping them frame it in a positive light. Encourage them to look forward to achieving goals they set for themselves both in and out of the classroom. And don’t leave all the anticipation to the kids. It’s also a great time of year to set your own goals. 

For kids:

1. What I’m most looking forward to being in my new grade at school...

2. On the playground, I want to...

3. This school year, I want to join...

4. In gym class, my goal is to...

5. At lunch this year, I hope to...

6. When it comes to homework, a new thing I want to try is...

7. This year at school, I want to become known for...

8. The person I would like to get to know better...

9. Before I finish this grade, I would like to be able to…

For tweens and teens:

10.  What will be great about being a [grade/year in school] is...

11.  A school activity I would like to experience for the first time this year is (picnic/social, dance, game, performance, etc.)...

12.  I think I’m ready to take the role of...

13.  I would like to hang out more with...

14.  At lunch this year, I hope to...

15.  This year at school, I want to become known for...

16.  The club/team I plan to check out or try out for is...

17.  When it comes to schoolwork, I’d like to try...

18.  Over winter or spring break, it would be great to...

19.  Before this school year ends, my goal is to… 

For parents (goals for your child):

20.  My hopes for my child this school year include...

21.  The person I would like to see my child interact with outside of school - for the first time, or more often is...

22.  The practical life skill (setting the table, making a grocery list, etc.) I would like to work on teaching my child this year is...

23.  By the end of the school year, I would like my child to... 

Goals for yourself:

24.  To learn more this year, the book I plan to read or course I want to take...

25.  A child, other than my own, I could consider becoming a mentor or role model to...

26.  Another parent, co-worker, or neighbor I would like to work on building a closer friendship with in the coming months...

27.  When it comes to volunteering, this school year I would like to... 

For families:

28.  On a weekend we would like to try...

29.  A family we would like to invite to hang out with us...

30.  At least once a week/once a month our goal is to...

31.  Together we want to learn… 

Writing a school year goals list not only builds hope for what will come in the school year, it also creates a sense of purpose and encourages kids to push themselves to reach their targets. Plus, talking through these prompts with your child allows you to learn what’s important to them, what concerns them, and who they see themselves becoming. It’s a chance for growing closer and an opportunity for you to show your support.

Given a list of September-to-June goals, when the school year ends, you’ll have more to celebrate than the grades on their report cards! 

Lara is a parenting journalist and mom of three girls.

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