The final days of school is right around the corner. The days are warmer, longer, and kids are bursting to be outside. Ever since the middle of May, it seems my students’ behavior became just as changeable as the weather, which, in my home state of Michigan, has changed from 50’s to 80’s almost overnight.
Classroom rules and procedures that had been carefully established and followed throughout the year were seemingly forgotten. Children had to be reminded to use their inside voices instead of shouting to each other. Little bodies who have been cooped up all year throughout a brutally cold winter, began skipping and running (they would call it “fast-walking”) down the hall. My fellow teachers bemoaned the “spring fever” that had taken hold of our students.
Unfortunately, the end of the year is full of high-stakes tests and other assessments that show a student’s growth in key academic areas. With sunny days, spring sports practices, warm temperatures, and summer plans swirling through children’s heads, how can parents help children hold on through these final days of school?
Keep an established bedtime ritual.
It’s harder to get the kids to sleep with longer hours of daylight that extend into evening. Children who are more active during the day need lots of sleep to help keep their stamina strong.
Have children reflect on their progress.
What are they proud of this year? What didn’t go so well? What are they hoping to do next year? Help your child draw a picture to celebrate a success or write a note to their teacher about something they learned or an activity or unit of study that they enjoyed. Children will benefit from these positive thoughts about their school year, even if it has been a tough year for them.
Play outside before homework.
Most teachers ease up on homework during the last weeks of school as we are as tired of grading the assignments as our students are of completing them. Children who have been inside all day need a little outside time and a snack before tackling those final homework assignments.
Involve children in making summer plans.
It isn’t only adults of a certain age who have a bucket list full of goals to achieve. I have the kids in class write a bucket list of things they want to do over the summer. You could do this at home by purchasing an inexpensive sand pail, and fill it with ideas for field trips, crafts, books to read, and other activities. When the doldrums of midsummer arrive and the kids are bored, they can refer to their list and find something fun to do.
It won’t be long now until children can enjoy warm summer days where they can run, play, and have unstructured time to explore what’s best about being a kid. Have a great summer!
Josie Michaels is a mother, teacher, and writer. Check out her blog at Growingmindsproject.blogspot.com