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teens back to schoolRemember when your kids were still excited about going back to school? When they had their backpack all packed and ready to go as soon as you got home from shopping, and they bounded out of bed in the morning? If not, here's betting you have a teenager in the house.

They've been through the routine year after year, and even if they "like" learning, they're not looking forward to climbing out of bed at the crack of dawn. So you have two choices, Mom and Dad: start the year off with the standard moaning and groaning, or do a little work to get your teens excited to go back to school.

1. Go Shopping. I know what you're thinking: this is bribery, plain and simple. But there's just something about a new outfit that makes you feel good -- whether you're an adult or a teenager. It's not a big leap from feeling good and comfortable in your skin to having a good first day back at school.

2. Visit the School. Is your teen moving up and into a new building? First day jitters can be a major drag, but a kid who has taken a look-see at the new school is a lot more confident (read: excited). Contact the front office to see if there's an open house on the schedule or if you can arrange for a quick walkthrough.

3. Plan a Back-to-School Sleepover or Party. Between family vacations, summer jobs, and plain old life, kids tend to lose touch with their friends during the summer. A back-to-school get-together will remind them how much fun they have with their buddies. It will also give them a chance to compare homeroom assignments and/or class schedules. If they know they'll get to share some class time with their friends, it will make saying goodbye to summer easier to bear.

4. Make a Deal. What's your kid's toughest subject? Discuss ways to make it easier to handle this year, whether it's hiring a tutor or seeking out a teacher who can offer extra help. Maybe sweeten the pot with the news that good grades will enable them to take part in an extracurricular activity (participation is contingent upon passing grades in most schools). 

5. Check the School Calendar. Usually available online, the calendar will let them know when they'll have off this year. Plan something special for one of the breaks that they can look forward to.

Are your teens looking forward to going back to school?


Image via Oakley Originals/Flickr