The days are getting longer and the mild winter has transitioned into a beautiful spring. Chances are your little one is looking forward to play dates in the park, vacation, and long walks on the beach. Below are some tips to keep your prince or princess focused through the end of the school year.
- Routine. Routine. Routine: One of the many mantras in child rearing is about the importance of routine. Maintaining your afterschool routine is important. Work out what works best for your child. Some young people need to expend energy before they can sit down and focus on homework. If that’s the case for your little guy or gal, you might take advantage of the mild weather and take a trip to the park or a walk before homework time. If a trip to the park will leave junior too tired, then homework right when you get home might be better. If your little guy has trouble focusing for long periods of time, breaks for a little physical activity might do the trick.
- Take a break: An important part of your daily routine should also be relaxation. In the spring time, schools kick it into high gear for state tests. Help your child find balance by encouraging fun with friends and exercise. In order for your son or daughter to grow, they must be involved in activities that are personally satisfying. His or her life cannot be all about academics. Encourage continuing involvement in extracurricular activities.
- If you find your little one is getting stressed out, encourage breathing exercises. Have him or her breathe in and out slowly 5 to 10 times. You might also play calming music while the little guy or gal does homework.
- Countdown to summer: Chances are your little one is excited for the coming summer. Join in their joy by helping them count down to the big day. Buy a large calendar or print one. Indicate important dates. You can make it a fun project by using stickers and different colors. Include important test dates and project due dates so they don’t sneak up on you. Also include social activities and summer plans. Get excited about these upcoming dates. Make sure to cross dates off as they pass– it’s kind of an advent calendar for the summer. Make a big deal as big commitments such as tests pass and the summer gets closer.
This is also a good opportunity to look back on the year so far. Celebrate the progress your child has made so far. Did he go up a reading level? Did she figure out how to do percentages?
- Plan for the next step: If your little one is about to make a big change by moving on to middle school, high school, or (gasp) college, planning for the impending change can be enough motivation to keep him or her focused.
Help your budding artist look into that performing arts high school he’s been dreaming of. What are the requirements? You might start preparing for that audition or portfolio now. If the school has academic requirements or attendance requirements, those requirements will help you set a goal. Help your prince/princess remember the goal by leaving notes around the house.
- Time travel: It is never too early to talk about careers and college. For your big-picture thinker, dreaming and then planning about what they’d like for their future can be motivation enough to get through the next few months. Work on a life map for the next 15, 20, or 30 years. Include milestones like finishing middle school, starting college, and getting married. Whatever your little one dreams about will work. You could also do a vision board or collage with the things junior dreams about.
Once you’ve done this, talk about where he or she is now and how that fits into their plans. If the big dream is college, make sure to visit a college this spring or summer. You might attend a college fair. If the big dream is a particular career, you might help the little one do a job shadow or just interview someone involved in the field.
- Start anew: Who says September is the only time for a new notebook or sharpener? Recreate the excitement of the first day of school by buying some new amazing supplies. A new memo pad might help junior get organized again. A new notebook and pen might get him back on the excited wagon for taking notes.
- Get involved: If your child has the summer-itis, he or she might have already checked out. You can help him or her get back on the homework wagon by getting involved. Get excited about big year end projects. Make sure that junior puts his all into choosing challenging topics and into doing the project itself. Help your child study for the big tests by quizzing him or her or by helping your child develop techniques that match his or her learning style. Also, consider communicating with teachers to get your child on track for success.
Now that spring is here, it’s time to reignite your own focus on your child’s development. Celebrate all that he or she has accomplished. Get excited and stay positive. It’s infectious.
By: Sandy Jimenez