Preventing Vacation Brain
5 Ways to Help Your Student Finish the School Year Strong
With Spring in the air, many school kids are already focused on one thing: summer vacation! And while it can be fun to daydream about the impending time off, “vacation brain” can be devastating for productivity and academic performance.
After all, there’s still well over a month to go in the classroom. That’s plenty of time for students to flex their academic muscles and finish the year on top. So what’s a parent to do? How can you help your distracted student finish the school year strong?
Keep reading to learn five powerful tips for preventing your son or daughter from gazing out the window mentally checking out for the remainder of the school year.
Let’s start with…
1. Maintain Your Evening Routine
The light is changing. Days are longer and it can be tempting to let students go to bed later as it begins feeling more like summer. But remember school is still in session. Help your students maintain their academic performance by keeping to the same routine and bedtime. This can help teenagers keep a school-year mindset and prevent them from checking out early.
2. Establish a Countdown
At this time, many students are thinking something along the lines of, “only a few days left.” Bring some clarity to this line of thinking by creating a visual reminder of exactly how many days is “a few days.” You could put up a calendar and cross off each day. Or you might consider making a number chain with each link representing a remaining day of school. You can then ceremoniously tear each paper off day by day and maybe—if you’re feeling adventurous—even burn it in the barbeque to celebrate being one day closer to Summer!
3. Stay Interested and Engaged
Don’t feel discouraged if you notice yourself anticipating Summer vacation as much as your teens. It’s only natural for kids to lose focus, and parents are no exception. But don’t allow yourself to disengage from the academic process! Keep asking students questions about classroom life, their friends, and about upcoming end-of-year activities. Whenever possible, use the names of their friends and ask specific questions. This is a great way to support them, show you care, and keep them invested in their education.
4. Personalize Their Learning
Sit down with your students and make a list of things they are interested in. Then, come up with fun ways to play to those strengths in their reading assignments, projects, and potential family field trips. By cultivating a home environment that stimulates their intellect and interests, you’ll find that weekends and summer vacation can be an educational opportunity— not just an excuse to play Candy Crush!
5. Incentives Always Work Well
Working toward a big goal can be made more exciting for a student if there’s a reward attached to its ultimate completion. A trip to Sonic (especially when the drinks are half-price!) always seems to work well. Dairy Queen is another popular destination. It’s not bribery; it’s calculated encouragement.
A Strong Conclusion
You don’t want your kids limping across the finish line… you want them leaping!
One of the most significant things we can teach our students is to finish what they start and to do so with strength and enthusiasm. Help them bring their school year to a strong conclusion by supporting them through this distracting, temptation-prone time.