This is the time of year where students start to get spring fever. As the weather starts to warm up and Springtime offers a world of new possibilities, students start to shut down. It is simply the cyclic nature of the learning process and a consequence of the school calendar, but although their minds are wandering elsewhere, there is still much work to be done at school.
Springtime is when students should begin buckling own to prepare for final exams, and yet their ability to concentrate is at its lowest. Motivation dwindles and students can’t seem to see the end of the tunnel. As a parent, it can be extremely disheartening to watch your child struggle with a lack of motivation or even wrestle with the anxiety that goes hand in hand with the end of the school year. Academic burnout can cause students to feel a lack of motivation, inability to focus, an apparent lack of concern, and mental exhaustion.
The end-of-year academic demands can stress out even the most promising students. As your student approaches the end of the school year, what can you do to help them finish strong and overcome the potential for academic burnout? What things can you do to best support your child at home?
Partner with your child’s school
One of the best ways to combat the stress of the end of the year is to work closely with your child’s school to manage expectations. At The Tenney school, we welcome parent collaboration when it comes to our student’s success and value open lines of communication.
- Gather information
- Communicate directly with staff
- Know your child’s teachers
- Participate in solution based conversation
- Check in regularly
- Be familiar with academic requirements
- Share information about your child’s struggles and strengths
Being connected with your child’s school means you take the time to make sure you fully understand what is expected of your child. Reach out to teachers to get a schedule of exams, and know when study sessions will take place. Teachers have excellent tools to help your child study and to help parents understand how to help their child with school work. All you need to do is ask. Educators love to help parents get involved in their student’s learning. You can also learn valuable things from your child’s guidance counselor or favorite teacher, these professionals often have first-hand knowledge about what things, in particular, might be stressors for your student. By cooperating with your child’s school you are demonstrating a willingness to work hard at a task and reminding them that school is a partnership in which everyone needs to participate.
Break down tasks into manageable pieces
No matter how big the workload, everything seems easier to manage when it is separated into bite-sized pieces. Often children do not know how to do this and things begin to pile up. The larger the pile, the more anxiety a child faces when trying to overcome it. So, this is where parents can step in to help.
At home you can:
- Prioritize tasks. By discussing what needs to happen first, second, and last with a trusted adult, students feel more able to tackle whatever obstacle is in front of them. This helps to manage both stress and time management.
- Post a calendar. A family calendar can help your student keep track of important events. Reminding them when to study, when deadlines need to be met and what they need to do each day to be successful. Make sure to write down when all final exams will take place, and note what date they should begin to study for each topic.
- Consider color coding to do list items to match their priority levels or time commitment.
Boost their ability to stay on task
Kids really need help from their families to learn how to stay on task. Being motivated and concentrating on difficult tasks is a learned skill. It takes a variety of things to help this skill to grow, such as:
- Healthy Diet. Maintaining a healthy diet has been shown to help in school concentration. Avoiding sugary foods before exams and starting the day with a breakfast high in protein is a helpful strategy to avoid a mid-day slump.
- Exercise. It has been proven that even a short ten-minute walk can help to improve mood for up to two hours. If your student is showing signs of stress, encouraging some kind of athletic activity is a good strategy to burn off excess nerves and maintain focus on the task at hand. Additionally, breaking up study sessions by short activities that get the heart pumping helps with retention too!
- Sleep. Students need a solid night of sleep to feel and perform at their best. Experts recommend that school-aged children get 9-11 hours of sleep per night to be at top performance. A good night’s rests lowers stress levels and makes for happier kids.