The warm weather has arrived and you are finally remembering the reason you choose to live in Michigan. When the shorts and t-shirts are pulled out from their long-term storage, everyone’s mind turns to summer plans and exciting vacations. Unfortunately, our alarm clocks quickly remind us that we still have another month of school to survive before we can fully relax and the fun can begin. So, how do you and your child survive the last month of school, the time when you’d rather be outdoors than at the table doing Math homework? Here are a few pointers to help get you to the end:
- Keep Your Schedule Consistent: As much as you would love to relax on things like dinnertime and bedtime, it is vital that your schedule remain as consistent as possible so that your kids can continue to function at a healthy level. Their daily schedules require the same amount of concentration and stamina as they have throughout the school year. Sure the sun is setting later, but that doesn’t mean your kids need to go to sleep later. With all the energy they expend outside, kids need more sleep this time of year, not less.
- Review the Requirements: As the school year comes to a close, now is the time to look back at those long-term projects and set a plan to complete them. For example, that English project that will take more than one night to complete but has not been worked on at all throughout the semester will need to be broken down into achievable goals. Relaxing on the school work might let something slip through the cracks and result in missing assignments and low final grades.
- Relax Your Weekends: With nice weather and spring activities, the weekends tend to fill up very quickly this time of year. It’s easy to find yourself running from one sport to the next, not to mention dances, recitals and various other showcases. Be sure to schedule in some relaxing time so that you don’t come away from your weekends exhausted. The weekday activities still require the same amount of time and energy as they have all year. Going into them with less energy only compounds existing problems.
- Stay Engaged In Learning: This applies to both you and your student. Continue to ask them how their day was, who they played with, what they enjoyed, etc. You may get the same answer as you have all year, but they need to know you are still interested in their learning process. Help your student to remain invested in their work. Assist them in choosing topics they are passionate about for their final projects, books or presentations. Engage them with hands on activities and introduce nature artifacts to assignments they need to accomplish. If they are more passionate, it will be easier to push through the end of the year work.
- Create Incentives: Everyone is more motivated if they are looking forward to something rewarding. Set up some incentives for your child to be successful in their final weeks. Maybe it’s a trip to the ice cream store, a picnic in the park, or a visit to the zoo. Choose something that will motivate them to finish strong but that will also encourage them to look forward to what the outdoors has to offer them this time of year.
Michigan is a great place to live with its changing seasons and fabulous summer activities. As you look forward to enjoying your time away from the routine of school, be sure to finish strong so that everyone heads into summer on a high note. Who knows, it might make going back in the fall that much easier too.
-Emily DeJong, L.M.F.T.