MoM Monday: 5 Ways To Help Kids Fight Spring Fever & Focus on Academics

1 May

Fourth quarter is in full swing at our school. While my boys might want to back off the books and lean into vacation mode, I’m having none of it. The rule in our home is that you play the hardest near the end of the game. Those last few tests can nudge up grades or bring them down.

Fight spring fever this time of year on Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

Sure the dwindling days may begin to bring on spring fever, but fight back the urge to let kids coast through the remaining weeks. If your kids attend public schools, then chances are they are about to embark on standardized testing. Those tests matter in many ways…and kids need to be prepared to do their best.

Here’s 5 ways to help kids fight spring fever and focus on academics. Use these remaining school days to encourage kids to keep their heads in their books and aim for high achievement.

Make a schedule.

The end of the year also signals baseball season and other spring sports. Kids are getting busier, and their schedules once again fill up with practices and other social obligations. But school work should always come first. Designate a time each day when kids know they need to sit down and focus on studies. A designated homework time also helps avoid chaos and meltdowns…especially when kids are expected to juggle multiple commitments. Schedules help them visualize their time. Make a schedule or help them make one so they can organize and visualize their time. Just make sure they (and you!) stick to the schedule.

Read 20 minutes.

No, reading nightly does not end once April 1 rolls around. Parents get frustrated with nightly reading battles, and the kids get sick of getting hassled by their parents. The whole situation can get crazy; I get it. I’ve battled with reading, too. But reading each night is important. Reading nightly boosts reading ability, and nightly reading helps a child work on comprehension. If they don’t want to read alone, then read to them. Then ask them questions during the story. Or take turns reading a page. Get creative, but don’t stop reading!

Fight spring fever this time of year on Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

Treat screen time as a treat.

What is it about those tablets and devices that keep kids so enthralled? They’re like kid magnets in their ability to suck every child toward them. They also suck time. And attention. Yes, online games are fun. So is social media. And web surfing. But now they need to be treated as a privilege to be earned, especially if their usage has become out of hand. Help kids make good choices by limiting screen time during the end of school. One of the best ideas is to tell them that after all assignments, studying, and reading have been complete then they can play. In our home, we designate an hour before bed for playing. That can mean screen time or any fun activity. We’re not perfect, though. My youngest grabs his device right after school (as he never has homework).

 

Quiz Time.

I’ve always quizzed my son before tests to make sure he knows the material. Each night review homework with kids or just have a brief ‘quiz time’ to make sure they are understanding their lessons. This is also a great way to help them review or to reinforce difficult concepts.

 

Enforce Bedtimes.

The end of the year is not the time to begin letting kids stay up super late. According to the National Sleep Foundation, kids between the ages of six to 13 need nine to 11 hours of sleep each night. Summer vacation is not here yet and sleep-deprived children won’t be in their best form to learn. Lessons aren’t over and kids still have a lot of information to take in and learn. Continue to enforce a firm bed time and stick to it. Also make sure they’re not sneaking devices under the sheets (yeah, my son started doing this).

The school year will be over soon…not soon enough for the kids, but still too soon for parents. Fourth quarter is not the time to let kids coast academically. Use the time remaining to keep kids focused on school and their studies by setting goals, priorities and expectations. Reward kids for their accomplishments at the end of the year, and congratulate them for keeping their eye on the prize…even if that prize was the last day of school.

 

Guest Post: Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance Hilary Smithjournalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics and wishes to help parents raise their children to be the best they can be.  Follow her on Twitter!

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