Some students find this time of year particularly challenging and, as a consequence, levels of anxiety and behaviour problems may arise or resurface. Teachers must dig deep in their little bag of tricks to keep students engaged until the last bell rings, and parents do, too. The following tips will help get your child through the home stretch.
Stick to routine:
Try not to abandon the routines and structures you’ve relied on all year. Now that it’s light outside later, the kids may want you to move back bedtime, but they still need to be tucked in at a reasonable hour. Regular routines, including healthy snacks and lunches, also help kids cope with the excitement of movie days, and other end-of-school celebrations and activities. It helps to reinforce that although things may be a little more free-form at school, your expectations and the teacher’s expectations for behaviour are still the same.
Support and work with the school on addressing behaviour concerns:
Try not to take it as a criticism of you, when you are told that your child is misbehaving. Try to be calm and cooperative rather than angry.
Avoid challenging school rules in front of your child. If your child thinks that you do not respect school policies and rules then he/she may feel that it is okay for her not to either. If you strongly disagree with any of the rules, discuss this with the school principal.
Try not to overreact or jump to conclusions. Gather as much information as you can about what actually happened and try to see things from both your child’s and the school's point of view – remember, children sometimes leave bits out and bend the truth because they want to avoid getting into trouble.
Let the school know if there have been any recent changes or problems for your child outside of school, as this may explain your child’s behaviour.
Take it outside:
Research shows that spending more time outdoors improves children’s concentration in school, lessens aggression and improves their ability to cooperate. Try moving homework outside whenever possible—your kids will enjoy the novelty and be less likely to complain.
Get a head start on preparing your child to make the transition from one grade to another. If they’re struggling at school, schedule a meeting with the teacher and get some suggestions on enriching summer activities to help him/her improve her skills. If you’re planning a trip, pick up a few books about the places you’ll be visiting.
Encourage your child to reflect back on his/her school year and think about what he/she’s learned, what was challenging, how he/she dealt with it and what he/she’s proud of. As the kids count down, start planning something special to mark the last day of class.