When the end of the school year comes around, it can be hard to keep momentum going... especially if it has been a tough year academically and/or socially. Everyone (both kids and parents) starts focusing on summer, camp and vacation time! Here are six tips to keep the energy high as the year comes to a close.
1. Set Specific Goals for the End of the Year - We all think to set goals at the start of the year, but rarely at the end. It is equally important to reevaluate throughout the year as well. Setting a realistic year-end goal and a plan to achieve it will allow your child to feel great about his accomplishment once the year comes to a close. This is especially important to do if your child set a goal that he or she is not on track to accomplish. It is never too late to reevaluate and set a new one.
2. Set Reasonable Goals That are Not Tied to Grades – There is nothing more un-motivating than trying to achieve a specific grade in school when you are a struggling student. Instead, help your child set goals that are tied to effort rather than a grade letter. For example, if your child makes careless homework/test mistakes, encourage him to double and triple-check his work, assuming time allows. If he does this consistently, his grades will likely improve naturally. But even if they don’t, double and triple-checking your work is a life skill that needs to be mastered — and the earlier your child learns this skill, the better. If you notice your child taking the time to review his work, make sure you set up a reward system such as picking the family movie, or choosing a family activity to reward the effort. We can only expect a child to do his/her best work. Rewarding your child for hard work will boost self-esteem and will serve your child for years to come.
3. Equipment Repair/Replace – I don’t know about you, but I do my best work when my office is neat and tidy and my supplies are well-stocked and accessible. The same holds true for kids! Over the year, their equipment may have broken down a bit (ie. torn folders/binders, pencils without erasers, missing pens etc.). It’s important to restock or repair, if necessary, so your child has the necessary tools for success. Make sure that the supplies he or she needs are available and are in good repair.
4. Take Advantage of the Nice Weather - Get outside and get some activity! Allowing your child to do his homework outside is a helpful way to motivate your child when the sun is shining! Remember, your child has been cooped up inside all day. Allowing him to get some fresh air and frequent "run in the sun" breaks will help your child stay motivated to get the work done. No one said "homework has to be done at home. Although some homework is best completed at a desk or computer, other assignments allow for a bit more location-flexibility. While it’s important to make sure that your child is provided with a good working environment, it’s also important to make homework fun! Take your child to the park or the beach so the reward is visible when the assignment is all done! I happen to love curling up under a tree to read a good book. In fact, if you follow my next tip, you can bring along your own book [and lead by example] to make it a family affair.
5. Lead by Example – Our children learn from us first. If you are talking about summer vacation and how much you can’t wait for school to be over, your child’s focus will shift as well. You have to remember that your words carry a lot of weight. Remain consistent in your message that school is important. Remain positive! Highlight some of the fun school events and activities coming down the road to keep your child excited and motivated. On those days that you just can’t get summer off of your mind, see tip three and get your children outside for some outdoor study time!
6. Stick to a Consistent Bedtime! It can be tough to enforce a reasonable bedtime when it’s still light outside, but it’s very important that your child stay consistent with his bedtime routine. Sleep is essential to learning and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is vital to your child's physical and emotional well-being.
It can be hard for anyone to stay motivated when they are nearing the end of something, but in order to finish strong, you must put your best foot forward… until the very last step!