Encouraging Your Nerdlings (Guest Post)

I posted recently that my children had their first day of public school. You can read that story here. To say that my oldest son has been stressed out about the prospect of attending school is an understatement. His mood has been terrible for the last several weeks leading up to the first day of school. We have done everything we can to encourage him about this change, but so far, he has refused to feel happy about the decision.

 His first day seemed to go well, and I think that it was different than what he expected. Austin decided that he needed a reward of some kind for braving the first day of school. I decided to invite him to talk about what inspired him to come up with this creative idea of how to acknowledge my son’s accomplishments.


Our oldest son was a bit stressed out about his first day of school.  He just entered the fourth grade, and he’s been homeschooled up to this point.  Understandably, he’s not quite sure what the experience will be like, so the night before the Big Day, I decided to do a little something to cheer him up.

Idea 1: Encouraging Note?


My first thought was to write some kind of note and put it in his lunch box for him to discover at the midpoint of his day.  I wasn’t really sure what to say in the note though, and didn’t know if a note from dad would have the punch I was looking for.

Idea 2: Bonus Game-time?


My son is a gadget nerd like me.  If you can attach some kind of incentive involving video games or gadget time to a dreaded task, he usually takes to it better.  I thought maybe I’d put some kind of coupon in his lunch box that he could redeem for extra game time on his Wii when he got home that first day.  This was an okay idea, but then I combined the encouraging-note idea with the video-game idea.

Idea 3: Achievement Unlocked!

Achievement Unlocked - First Day of School

Our oldest two have recently discovered Plants vs. Zombies.  (Yeah, I know that game is about five years old, but we just got it on our Kindle.)  The older of the two, always a fan of a checklist, is currently obsessed with the achievements list.  So I thought, what about a real life achievement?  I did a little googling, and a little editing, and created a small achievement award for completing the first day of school.  It took just a few minutes, but the boys both loved it.

The coolest part of this little bit of encouragement was not that it was all that creative or amazing.  It was just a simple way for me to encourage my boys through something we already connect with – in this case, video games.

If you’d like to use this idea, here’s a pdf: Achievement Unlocked – First Day of School

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