By Carey Roper
The school year is half over and your child may be feeling a little apathetic and bored with learning. The excitement of the holidays are over, and the novelty of a new school year has undoubtedly worn. There are several things you can do to help your child be motivated and finish the second semester with enthusiastic interest.
First, encourage your child to stay organized and clean out backpack daily. Backpacks seem to become a black hole for graded papers, trash and everything else your child sees fit to put in there. Some students get frustrated with homework and upcoming assignments because they don’t remember where they put needed instructions or can’t find their homework altogether. Second semester is a great time to purchase inexpensive folders, a daily planner, and dividers to reinforce structure and help your child have a system with their school work coming home each day.
Next, set achievable goals for the semester. Your child may feel overwhelmed upon returning to school after winter break. If science projects, book reports and other assignments are piling up, prioritize. Sit down and write on paper the most important goals on paper with your child and post them in a visible area for a constant reminder. Use a calendar to set due dates for rough drafts, materials needed, etc. As a goal is accomplished, celebrate with a trip to the book store or other positive reinforcement that your child will enjoy.
Your attitude means everything! Be encouraging and try to have them think positive thoughts. Winter months often contribute to lackluster attitudes. If your child begins to complain or feels overwhelmed with school, remind them of the good feelings they had in the past when they did their best on a spelling test, book report or other accomplishment. When negativity sets in, it is very difficult to complete quality school work. Remember, if you complain out loud that their teacher has given too much homework or question an assignment they have been given, your child will model your behavior and attitude.
Find time for fun every day. Huge amounts of money don’t need to be spent or detailed plans don’t need to be made. Play a board game with them, set up a puzzle to work on for a few minutes each day, or go for a bike ride. Your child needs down time. This break is needed for your child and will help them begin to structure their life by realizing that after working hard, it is important to relax and just be a kid.
Last, take a look at the big picture. Constantly remind your children of the importance of education. Point out where the different roads their attitude about school can take them. Young children sometimes have difficulty seeing themselves as adults. Discuss with them long term goals and where they see themselves after high school. Remind them that most occupations worth pursuing require post high school education. As hectic and time consuming school can be, it is a gift and an opportunity. By teaching your child and encouraging them to set goals, be organized and have a good attitude, some of the winter doldrums can be avoided and summer break will be here before they know it.