Once spring break has passed, the close of the school year becomes the focus. The students can seemingly sense that the end is at hand. Parents and educators all agree that children’s behavior changes as the temperatures rise and the days get longer. What can be done to keep students focused on learning? How can they be convinced to finish the school year strong?
Here are a few strategies that might help with the battle against spring fever.
1. Remind your child that your expectations have not changed with the weather. You expect the same quality of work that was expected during the rest of the school year. You might even need to put these expectations/goals in writing and display them for reference as needed.
2. Be sure to model the behaviors you expect from your child. Maintain your regular work schedule and stress that school responsibilities must be met before fun activities take place.
3. In many families, it is helpful to create a checklist of tasks that must be finished before playtime can happen. This can be done on a weekly or daily basis. The sooner work and responsibilities are taken care of – the sooner the fun can begin.
4. Burning off some excess energy by playing outside for a short time when you first get home is not a bad thing. Many people (not just children) need to have some physical activity in order to improve their focus when they sit down to get to a task. Allowing for a “brief” playtime might also score you some points with your child. Flexibility is frequently a good thing to model. The important thing to learn is that the responsibilities do not actually go away; they are simply delayed.
5. Sleep hours need to be consistent. It is not unusual for children to want to stay up later once the clocks have changed. It really does look like they are being forced to bed early when there is still daylight outside. Always refer to the actual time on the clock and the number of sleep-hours needed for success in the upcoming day. Numbers don’t lie – even though the sky may seem to be doing so.
6. Allow for some extra-educational outdoor fun. Use special opportunities that become available with the warmer weather as goals during the week. Then, over the weekend, go to the local zoo, arboretum, or relax with a lakeside picnic and some fishing. There is so much to be learned through activities like these, and they are so much fun. They also allow for great memories to be made.
In all honesty, it is not just children who struggle as the weather improves and the days lengthen. Many adults are challenged by the same distractions. Working with your children on staying focused and forcing yourself to be a good role-model may prove helpful for you as well. Summer break will be here before you know it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brenda Burdick was born and raised in Texas. She graduated from Houston Baptist University with her undergraduate degree and the University of North Texas with her graduate degree. She spent 10 years of her career as an educator in public schools and 20 years in Lutheran schools in various roles including teacher, marketing and admissions director, curriculum specialist, assistant principal, and principal. Currently, Brenda is the Director of Christian School Expansion and Operations at Upbring.