It’s mid-October and school has been in session long enough to make summer feel like a dream. The beginning of the year review gives way to new more difficult concepts. Extra-curricular activities can take up most of the weekend and leave little room for rest. I saw it as a teacher. I see it now as a parent. At some point during the month, most kids feel the weight of it all and “slump.” They seem tired. They start complaining about going to school. They drag their way through activities.
The Slumps will eventually balance out, but in the meantime, here are a few ways to bolster your child’s motivation.
A Change of Scenery
Moving the location of everyday activities can shake things up just enough to make them fun. When my daughter gets discouraged by a particularly large homework packet, I like to take her to a café to work on it. Sure, your kids still have to do their assignments. But going somewhere new, that isn’t the kitchen table, can make the work feel lighter and the day less taxing. If they usually go to child care at the gym, you could get your exercise outside with a family hike instead. Maybe you always read together at night before bed. Consider reading under the stars, in your own bed, or in the dark with a flashlight. Anything that adds adventure to routine will help your kids shake off the cobwebs.
Jam-packed schedules can wear out the most tolerant person. Check your calendar for something you can skip without major consequences. As a teacher, I occasionally skipped our morning lesson and took my students out for a game of capture the flag. That investment of forty-five minutes released so much tension, it upped their attention span for several days. Is there a soccer practice or a study group that your child could let go for a week? Give them time to wander around the house when they aren’t usually there. We all know the refreshing feeling of a few unplanned moments to do absolutely nothing.
In our house, and I’m sure in many others, TV and computer time is almost none existent during the school week. Each family has those prized privileges that motivate its members. Give them a special treat as a reward for so much effort these last few weeks. Even a thirty minute educational program or ten minutes later bed time can make them feel royal and lighten their outlook.
Take a Vacation … Sort of
We are lucky, we live near the beach. Every so often, we pick up the kids from school, pack up the grill and head down to the shore. It’s not always warm enough to swim, but just shuffling our feet in the sand and watching the waves makes it like summer. Three hours later, on our way home, everyone feels renewed, as if we’ve been out of town for a few days. Where does your family love to relax? Set aside a whole afternoon to take yourselves out of your lives and refresh. It’s almost as good as a weekend get-away. Almost.
You might read through this list and feel like none of it is possible. That’s okay! You know your family best. Get creative: a living room dance party, lunchtime school visits or notes, new kites to fly at the park. You’ll find a way to give your kids a new outlook.
Feeling overwhelm as a mom? Check out these 5 Essential Motivators for Overworked Moms in Business.