Teachers all over the country are experiencing a similar phenomenon in their classrooms – spring fever. Just about the time spring break rolls around kids begin to think about summer and stop thinking about school. Unfortunately, this is the time of year when standardized testing and final assessments take place, so it’s no time to mail it in. In this post we’ll discuss strategies for keeping your child focused to finish the school year strong.
At home you’re probably feeling this as well. It gets harder to get your children up in the morning and to get them to focus on doing their homework. Now imagine the frustrations that the teachers are facing when they have 20 or more kids all struggling to focus. By April, it has been a long school year and kids are tired of schoolwork, but in most systems there is still a lot of work to be done. It is a particularly frustrating time for schools because their biggest academic assessment each year for No Child Left Behind happens in the spring. Here are a few tips to help keep your child focused and finish strong:
- Keep your routines. We are all creatures of habit and sticking to a well-established routine is one key to a smooth-running household.
- Send your child to school. Things can come up in the spring and it can be tempting to let your child lay out of school here and there. The more you do this, the more your kids will want to stay out, and a vicious cycle ensues. Send them to school and you send a strong message to your children about keeping their obligations.
- Remember bedtime. With the days getting longer, the evening can sneak up on you pretty quickly and it might seem earlier than it really is. In concert with routines, keep an eye on the clock and make sure your kids get their normal night of sleep.
- Get your kids outside. Playing in the yard or with the neighborhood kids is a way to burn off that energy and buy you some peace and quiet in the afternoons. Use the warm weather and longer days to your advantage. Join them for some family fun and fitness.
- Openly plan your summer vacations and fun. If your children have something to look forward to upon completion of the school year, it could sustain them through the rest of the year and give them something to work towards.
- Be supportive of your teachers and school. Teachers are most effective when they have the full support and backing of parents, and this time of year is even more critical to have that cooperation. Have your child do their homework and study for upcoming tests. Keep the lines of communication open and be involved whenever you can as a parent.
- Use praise, rewards and incentives liberally. Children respond very favorably when appropriate levels of incentive are given for doing the right things. When you catch your child doing something good, or getting compliments from their teacher, or bringing home good grades, let them know you appreciate it.
Keeping up the intensity can have more than just psychological benefits. Perhaps a grade moves from a “B” to an “A” or, going the opposite direction, a class is failed by coasting at the end of the year. For high schoolers, this can be significant. In the case of my oldest son, his act of finishing strong his senior year moved him from #2 to #1 in class ranking and earned him an additional scholarship. With active, intentional parenting, you can help your child finish strong and fight spring fever.
Question – Is your case of spring fever rubbing off on your child?