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The final weeks of school can be stressful for children. Many have just finished state exams and are ready to trade in books for time on the playground. Others are just suffering from school fatigue. Don’t let the end of the year blues get the best of your child. Here are some strategies to help keep them motivated during the final weeks of school.
1. Maintain your routine. Once the days start getting longer and warmer, it’s tempting to throw routine out the window and fly by the seat of your pants. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t work well with children. Believe it or not, most kids thrive off structure. When things are predictable they feel safe and secure. However, when their routine is interrupted, it can bring on anxiety and frustration.
2. Eat healthy. Maintaining proper nutrition will help kids feel alert and energized. Even though these days it’s hard to escape the familiar jingle of the ice cream truck, you want to limit your child’s sugar intake. Excess sweets tend to sap children of their energy and make them tired. Be mindful that children are eating nutritious meals and consuming sweets in moderation. Don’t forget to keep them hydrated, especially on warm days when they are outdoors.
3. Get at least eight hours of sleep. When children get enough rest, they can better manage the challenges they face during the day. They can concentrate better and are generally in a better mood compared to when they are tired.
4. Keep track of upcoming activities and projects coming due. The final weeks of school can make even the most responsible child forgetful. Help your child stay on task by developing a system with them to keep track of what’s going on. For example, write down all upcoming trips and projects on a calendar and hang it in a highly visible area.
5. Set daily goals. Setting achievable daily goals can keep your child focused on what’s going on at school and less on summer vacation. Sit down with your child and set reasonable goals they can achieve during the day. For example, finishing classwork on time or reading a certain amount of minutes during school. Don’t be afraid to ask your child’s teacher for suggestions for daily goals.
6. Keep a positive attitude. Your attitude is contagious. If you are counting down the days to when your family goes on summer vacation, your child will likely begin to do the same. It’s hard for kids to stay focused during the final weeks of school when their thoughts are filled with images of fun in the sun. Stay in the present and focus on what needs to get done now.
7. Spend time outdoors. Most kids get limited recess time during school. Whenever possible, give them an opportunity to play outdoors for at least forty minutes after school lets out. This is a great mood booster. Also, time outdoors generally helps kids get a good night’s sleep.
8. Review and celebrate any progress your child made during the school year. The final weeks of school is a good time to whip out previous report cards to review the progress your child has made. Being able to see how they have grown can help keep them motivated. Don’t see any progress? Look harder. It’s nearly impossible for a child to go the whole school year and make no progress. It doesn’t matter how small the gain, celebrate it.
9. Give your child something to look forward to at the end of each day. If your child knows they can do something they like after school, this can encourage them to push through. You might want to consider making participation in their special activity contingent on their behavior and performance in school. This will help ease any anticipatory anxiety that might develop. Keep activities simple. For example, it could be that you work on the garden as a family. Ask for your child’s input and make sure it’s something they are interested in doing.
10. Work on an end of the year memory book. Take your child on a trip down memory lane. Help them remember some fun experiences they had during the school year. Thinking about the good things that happened during the year can help your child maintain a positive mood during those final weeks of school.
What are some ways you keep your child motivated during the final weeks of school?