Health Wise: Finishing Strong
As we roll into the last trimester/semester of this school year, a couple of things are usually on the minds of students and parents - finishing the school year strong and planning ahead for next year.
In this blog, we will share ideas for helping students finish the year strong. And then in our next blog, we will talk about some things to consider for making next year even better.
Many kiddos are currently on spring break, or just coming back from it. Ahead of them, they have 2.5 months of school, and then the promise of summer vacation. This last stretch can be tough for a number of reasons - some students mentally check out, others panic trying to “fix” their grades, and still others are trying to figure out how to hold on to their motivation and energy after a long Fall and Winter. Getting to make it to the finish line can be hard for parents and kids alike,
There may be some ways to get kids re-motivated and finish strong. Here are some ideas:
- Check in on the reward system. Did you have a reward system at the beginning of the year, but it’s gotten forgotten as the year went on? It’s time to bring back out the charts, apps, or jars. Right now is when kids need it most!
- Re-think the incentives. If the rewards fell out of use because they weren’t working, it may be worth asking your kids what rewards would work. Rewards need to be actually motivating for your child in order to work.
- Re-think the administration of rewards. If possible, rewards should be immediate, and consistent. And they should be proportionate to the behavior, or the steps towards a preferred behavior.
- Make space for breaks. This could mean timers and small breaks for homework, asking teachers to allow the child some breaks at school, or mental health days. These should be reasonable so not too much work here missed, but short breaks can be extremely valuable for times when things feel overwhelming and never-ending.
- Touch base with teachers and encourage your kids to do so as well. If your kiddo is falling behind or at risk for failing, get them some help sooner rather than later. Empower them to ask their teachers what they can do to get back on track, and if they’re not ready to do this, have them simply take part in the conversations, gently guiding them rather than taking over.
- Make homework more fun. Try creative ways to get through the nightly homework struggle, with breaks, snacks, and hands-on activities.
- Check in with nutrition. Are your kids eating a balanced breakfast every morning? Are they bringing snacks to school? Sometimes, in the hope of getting more sleep in the morning, we skip important things like eating or grabbing food to go. But this food is so important for fueling the day! Take a look at after-school pre-homework snacks too. While your kids may crave sugar, their brain needs something healthier!
- Put some fun, sunny plans on the horizon. While actual summer is a bit out of reach still, the weather is warming up. Plan some fun outdoor activities, soak up some energy from the sun, and get away from the grind.
- If you can’t get outside, remember to have some fun indoors! Try board games, arts and crafts, cooking together, etc. and break up the monotony of schoolwork and homework (and adults need this, too!).
Don’t wait until June! Try some of these things now, and help your kids finish strong.
Also, keep an eye out for our next blog, which will touch on school-related resources and accommodations, and how to determine if they’re a good fit for your child now or in years to come.
P.S. Some of the above ideas apply equally to parents as to kids. Parents please remember to “put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others.”