The days are getting longer and the weather is becoming warmer. The promise of a relaxing summer is within our grasp. At the same time, students need to complete projects, prepare for final exams and experience emotions about the transition into a new grade. Focus and motivation can begin to dwindle while at the same time, stress and anxiety rise. Here are some tips to help your scholar make it through the end of the school year on a positive note:
This is not the time to switch the routines you have had in place all year. Although it stays lighter later, maintain routines around mealtime and bedtime. Children of all ages thrive on routines and will have better school performance if they follow them. Remind yourself and your children that summer break is very close and when it starts, routines can be modified.
Children’s concentration improves if they spend more time outdoors. Letting your children have time to play outside for an hour or so after school will positively impact their focus. Even consider having some parts of their routine such as mealtime or reading take place outside.
Create A Visual
Hang a large calendar somewhere in the home where it is easy to see. Fill it with important dates, deadlines and activities such as end of the year parties, field days and recitals. Children are more likely to be motivated to work through deadlines when they see that there are relaxed and fun activities in the mix. This will also help you stay organized during a hectic time of year, and if you feel organized and calm, your children feel anchored.
Point Out Progress
Reflect with your children about the school year that is ending. Discuss what they learned and how they faced challenges. Look back on projects and assignments collected throughout the year. Decide together which items you want to save. Celebrate the progress they made throughout the year.
As much as possible, maintain your level of enthusiasm and engagement in the school process. Your children will feed off this energy. If they see that you are losing interest or motivation, it will be hard for them to maintain theirs.
While this time of year can be exciting, it can also feel unpredictable and disorderly. For some children, the anticipation of change and the unfamiliarity of what lies ahead can feel sad and scary. Validate your children’s feelings. Encourage them to speak or draw about what they are feeling. Help keep things as structured and predictable as possible for them. Problem solve with your children and role play with them to help them with the anticipatory anxiety they are experiencing.
Graziella Simonetti is a parent educator for EAC Network’s Long Island Parenting Institute and works as an early childhood social worker for the New York City Department of Education. She holds an advanced certificate in parent education from Adelphi University and is a NYSPEP credentialed parenting educator. Simonetti is a former kindergarten teacher.