The school year might be winding down, but this is one of the most treacherous times of the year when it comes to student attendance and focus. The advent of good weather, plus the stress of intensive winter studies and activities, all combine to produce a sort of “spring fever” that hits kids of every age, making them restless and inattentive. This is also the time of year when attendance numbers plummet as well, starting from April and worsening on through June. Studies show that after the April testing season, there’s typically a 5.8 percentage drop in attendance, not only for high school students but for students of all ages.
How Schools Are Combating Spring Fever
School administrators are well aware of how the annual epidemic of spring fever impacts kids in the classroom. Toward this end, savvy teachers keep their students motivated with extra incentives, including engaging projects that can be done in pairs (groups can be too distracting). Many teachers also instigate periodic “brain breaks,” when everyone takes a five-minute break to get up and stretch, listen to music, or engage in some spontaneous, fun activity.
Likewise, many schools schedule incentivizing activities during the last few weeks to keep kids interested and motivated. These can include classroom events such as field trips, or school-wide activities such as music or drama performances, athletic competitions, or dances.
What Parents Can Do to Help
For parents, this can be a frustrating time of the year. You’re sympathetic about your child’s restlessness; but also concerned about keeping grades up, especially when it’s time for final exams.
The good news is, with a bit of extra attention and creative thinking, you can be proactive in helping your child during these difficult last weeks of school. These tips, which can easily be implemented into your daily routine, can help your child stay motivated and focused until the bell rings for summer vacation.
Give your kids plenty of time out of doors
Encourage your child to enjoy those extra hours of daylight before bedtime. After those long hours in the classroom, there’s nothing like a softball game, a few rounds of catch, or a nice long walk with your child to sweep the cobwebs away.
Keep healthy snacks on hand
An increase in outdoor activity can also lead to an increase in appetite, so make sure to have plenty of healthy snacks such as fruits, nuts, and dark chocolate.
Make sure your kids get plenty of sleep
Some kids have trouble sleeping when it’s still light out in the evening, so create a relaxing atmosphere in the bedroom, with lots of peace and quiet. Make sure the shades are pulled down to block out excess light.
Create a list of mile markers
Find out about upcoming school projects or assignments, and transfer them to a mile marker list, charting progress along the way. This will encourage your child to stick to the task without procrastinating, and will also help you keep track of your child’s progress without having to constantly ask questions. When the project is completed, plan a satisfying reward for your child.
De-clutter work/study spaces
Creating a peaceful, clutter-free work/study space for your child can go a long way toward relieving unnecessary stress. Encourage your child to join in with a bit of early spring cleaning, so that you’ll both be prepared for those last weeks of school.
By creating a low-stress, supportive home environment and encouraging your child to keep studying without slacking off, you can be proactive in combating spring fever during those last two months of school. With your help, your child will have the satisfaction of seeing just how rewarding it is to finish the school year on top. And you’ll both be ready for the summer season.