Elementary School Blues
How to Keep Kids Motivated the Entire School Year
Packing lunches, doing nightly homework, studying for spelling tests and scrambling during the morning rush lose their luster as weeks roll on. The thrill of a new school year has dulled, and children start to drag their feet a little more on school mornings. How do you keep kids motivated during the long winter months?
Let your children know you have high expectations for them throughout the year, not just first semester. Work with your children to set goals for success and reward them for meeting their goals. Some kids need an academic goal, while others need behavior goals, such as getting no tardies for the quarter or turning in all assignments in on time. Communicate with your child’s teacher to come up with some beneficial goals for your child. Rewards could include a taking a special family outing, going out for ice cream, picking out a special toy or earning extra screen time.
Parents who are tired of packing lunches and reminding children to put their shoes on for the fifth time in one morning can find it hard to stay positive. However, a positive attitude can go a long way for both parents and kids. Focus on the excitement of learning, seeing friends and upcoming events to encourage your child that school is still as fun as it was back in August. Your positive attitude will become contagious, and your child will start to get excited about school again too.
Show an interest
Parents’ interest can have a huge impact on your child’s excitement about school. When your child returns home from school, ask him about his day, his friends, and the highs and lows of the day. Listen attentively and ask questions. When homework time rolls around, be available to help and answer questions. When parents are excited and interested in the goings-on at school, kids will be too.
Kids who are involved in school activities tend to be more excited about school. Encourage your children to join clubs and after-school activities where they will be around school friends. Parents also can get involved at the school to break up the mid-year blues. When kids see their parents working at the school, they know you value their time there. Check with your school to see what volunteer opportunities are available.
Continue healthy habits
Encourage your child to get a good night’s rest, eat a healthy breakfast and focus on good study habits. An after-school routine to complete homework and chores will help your child fall back into the school schedule after winter break. Be sure to allow plenty of free time as well. Host a playdate, have a movie night, go to the park if weather allows and schedule time for fun and relaxation so kids don’t get too bored with their routine.
If the mid-year blues are still getting to your child, don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teacher to discuss a plan for getting back on track. Soon enough, the days will begin to get longer, the temperatures warmer and school will be out for summer once again.
Mom of six Sarah Lyons lives in Olathe with her family.