By Amy Hysick, Education Coordinator

As the weather improves, the flowers bloom, and the temperature rises enough to tempt us all out of hibernation, our minds tend to jump right to summer plans without realizing that we have only finished ¾ of the school year!

How do we encourage our children (and ourselves!) to finish the year on a productive and strong note?

I have a couple of suggestions that have worked for my family (and some of my students)!

  • Make and post a calendar to help visualize the remainder of the school year. Mark the important spring events at school and with the family to help everyone stay organized and on track.
  • Take time during meals or trips in the car to talk with your children about how far they have come since the beginning of the year and how much they have learned since September. Ask them to tell you about their proudest moment or greatest accomplishment this year at school.
  • Take walks or play outside with your children! Enjoy the change in the weather, rejoice in the buds and new leaves on trees, and get your bodies moving after the season of ‘winter hibernation’. Exercise is good for your brain!
  • Make lists!!! List all the books you and your children want to read this summer. List the places that you want to visit. List the adventures you want to have. List the ice cream flavors you haven’t tried yet – anything that becomes a set of goals to work toward during the time away from school. (Bonus points if it involves practice for reading, writing or math strategies…)
  • Tuck little encouraging notes in your children’s lunch or folder letting them know how proud you are of them and their hard work.
  • Ask your children to write a handwritten thank you letter to a teacher that has touched their lives and deliver it before school concludes.

I have a ‘Happy File’ folder where I keep every note I have received from students over the last 15 years, and on the really tough days (all of March, basically) I look back at the ways in which I have made a difference, and that helps me to find a renewed sense of purpose and energy for the last push toward June.

Summer is right around the corner, but it’s not here just yet. Maintaining routine, taking the time to encourage your children and celebrate their accomplishments, and gentle reminders that we have that little bit left, can all work together to help your children finish the school year on a fantastic note!