June has arrived! The weather is warm and summer is in sight. The trees are blooming, your garden is growing, and students are hanging from the rafters at school.
Who can blame them? It’s really a function of our climate, which historically shaped our school year. Summers meant that kids were working on the farms. A 10-months-on, two-months-off school system naturally creates anticipation, which can spoil anyone’s concentration by the time you near the end.
However, there are ways to help your children stay motivated and on-task during the final month of school, while keeping an eye on the prize – summer vacation!
1. Empathize. Clearly express that you’re on their side and you understand how hard it is focus at this time of year. This way you can be more influential as you set your expectations for the completion of the school year.
2. Keep your routines in place for homework, bedtime, morning, and whatever else you have done throughout the year. Send a signal that school isn’t over, and that their commitment to learning should remain.
3. Allow ample opportunity for outdoor play and physical activity after school and on weekends. Being active helps kids to be better learners, and play lets them recharge their batteries.
4. Maintain your commitment to good nutrition. A healthy breakfast is essential. Provide snacks for them throughout the day, perhaps more than usual because they may be more active during recess. The teacher may also be providing more opportunities for outdoor activity (note reference to kids hanging from rafters).
Children also need more water now. Not only are they running around outside, but many schools do not have central air. Those classrooms are saunas and students need to be hydrated.
5. Get plenty of sleep. It’s easy to fall off the bandwagon with later sunsets and warmer nights. A street full of kids is enticing. But children need a full night’s sleep in order to be productive in the classroom. They will have all summer to play, but they still have a job to do in June.
6. Finally, establish a reward system. Not everyone agrees. Bribe may be a dirty word to some, but humans respond to positive reinforcement. You know what your child likes best (Pizza night? Movie? How about a special night with Mom and/or Dad?) Besides, these bribes are only temporary to get you through the month. Help them stay motivated with a prize for productivity. Acknowledge a job well done.
Have a wonderful June!