The end of the year can be one of the most difficult times for school aged children as they tend to lose motivation as summer and summer break near closer and closer. As parents, it’s our job (one of our jobs, anyways) to keep them motivated straight through to the end. So, I’ve compiled a list of tips that have helped my kids throughout the years, and I’m sure they will help yours, too!
Plan Weekend Fun:
To your kids, summer break may seem within reach, but a month or two can really drag when you’re waiting for summer. One thing that has worked for my children in the past is looking forward to more attainable breaks and activities – and that’s what weekends are for! When possible, plan special outings and activities on the weekends that will motivate your children to get through each remaining week. I suggest beach days, spring skiing, hikes, bike rides, attending a concert or play, etc. Be creative and plan an activity your kids can truly look forward to and enjoy. Additionally give them goals to achieve each week in connection to these weekend activities; this will help keep them focused and driven, because, let’s face it, they’ll do whatever it takes if it means a trip to Disneyland is in store!
Stick to Routine:
Just because your kids think they can taste summer break doesn’t mean it is actually here – or even that close. During the school weeks, do your very best to stick to your child’s regular routine to keep them in the swing of things and remind that them it’s not actually summer break quite yet. In our household, in the past, our routines have been variations of the following: my kids come home from school, eat a snack, complete their homework, have dinner with the family, take a bath and head to bed. Of course you can add in some extra fun with a special movie on a Friday night or a fun craft project, but for the most part, sticking to routine will remind your children that school is still in session and help them get through the final remaining months.
Be a Cheerleader:
Be a super motivator and cheer your children through to summer break. Sure they might roll their eyes when you’re ‘hoorahing’ them out the front door at eight in the morning, but it’ll surely be a brief distraction – at the very least. I suggest sneaking inspirational and motivational notes into their lunchboxes reminding them to “keep their eyes on the prize” (so to speak) and letting them know you believe in them. With a doting and encouraging parent behind them – they’re sure to make it through to summer.
Look to the Future:
When in doubt, look to the future. Plan an exciting summer trip and let your child help with the plans. The family trip will give them something to look forward to instead of just summer. Make sure they understand, however, that they’ll need to stay motivated at school during the last couple of months in order to actually go on said trip. Make goals and stick to them. If they achieve their goals then they’ll get to go on the trip – it’s really a win for everyone!
Create Countdown Activities:
And finally, countdown activities are great for the youngsters. They can help put into perspective just how far off – or close for that matter – summer break actually is. Some ideas include printing off calendar pages and letting your child stick a sticker onto each day at its end or making a paper chain and ripping off one link everyday (kids like to watch the chain shrink). Be creative and make the countdown activity something you and your child enjoy doing together.
The last couple months of school may be as exhausting for you as they are for your child, as we all know being a fulltime cheerleader is a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it. I hope these tips and ideas will work for you and your family as they’ve worked for me in the past.
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of 7, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, delivery room duds and daddy gifts and apparel, and the DaddyScrubs blog where he covers topics about parenting all from a Dad’s perspective.