Ending the School Year on a Positive Note

The weather is sunnier, warmer, and the outdoors is beckoning. It is difficult enough for parents to stay on track and take care of business as summer beckons. Think about your children’s attention span in this tantalizing time of year. It is not easy to pay attention and focus on classroom studies when the trees are full and the flowers are blooming. So, how do you keep your children motivated to finish the school year in an upbeat way?

As the sun stays out much later and days are longer now, it’s a good idea to give children snacks after school and then encourage them to play outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. After hours of sitting and concentrating, they need this release and their minds get refreshed by the fresh air. Using the large muscles in their arms and legs for running, climbing, hiking, ball playing, or biking promotes the development of more intricate motor control. It’s a good change of pace from the school-related small muscle development tasks of writing, reading, and other eye-hand coordination skills. Never underestimate the social skills they gain by playing with others. They learn to take turns, share, cooperate and negotiate all vital aspects of learning how to get along with others.

After a reasonable play period, some families have homework time or an early dinner time. You know what works best in your family. Children should be encouraged to tackle their homework before they are tired. By assuring your children that they can have some relaxation time for family fun, digital time or television/music time after homework, they are inclined to cooperate. If they hit a rough spot in their homework, try to help them by reading together what is required and asking leading questions to help them arrive at answers. Homework is not a parent’s responsibility, but it is your responsibility to encourage doing it, helping with questions and then checking the work once it is completed. Praising your child for working hard at it, trying to arrive at answers that are not easy to calculate and staying on task until it is done is so important for children to hear.

Parents work both inside and outside the home. Going to school each day happy, healthy, well rested and prepared is your children’s work. Use your time together to speak about your work and their work. Showing your child that you enjoy reading for pleasure will increase their desire to also read, just like mom and dad. Parents are role models and how you face each day rubs off on them. Modeling a positive attitude toward work and necessary tasks helps your children to assume this same positive, can do attitude. Talking about staying on task at work until projects are finished will provide your children with a framework for finishing the school year on a high note and feeling proud of their accomplishments. Good luck as you approach the finish line!

Last updated August 8, 2015