End-of-School Slump 
by Sam Glyn Nava, B.S.Ed, M.S.CCC-SLP, Alphabet Kids Director of Educational Resources
Believe it or not, the end of the 2010-2011 school year is just around the corner.  It is very common for kids (and sometimes adults) to get the end-of-school-year itch, resulting in slipping grades, reduced interest in school and sometimes behavior issues.  Here are some tips about how to avoid the end-of-school-year slump.
  1. Get More Involved as a Parent - As an adult, many people fall into the same Spring Fever issues that children do.  But as a parent, try to step it up this time of the year, maybe find some time to volunteer at school, or spend extra time doing homework review with your kids.  It may seem small, but they will likely notice your revived air of commitment and follow suit.   
  2. Stick to Routines - As the days get longer and the weather gets better, people tend to want to stay out and plan outings later in the day.  Even though the school year is almost over...it's not over yet, so sticking to a routine,  reasonable bed time, afterschool activity schedule and consistent family meal times will help your child remember that even though the weather is changing, the importance of schoolwork and previously set routines are still enforced.  
  3. Give Rewards for School Tasks Well Done - You may or may not do this all year long, regardless, now is a good time to give your kids a little added incentive whether it be a sticker, an extra half hour before bedtime (on the weekend, of course) or a sweet treat.  Letting them know that good grades and reports from teachers are important to you, even at the end of the year, will help them strive to keep up the good work they've been doing all year long.  
  4. Really Check Homework - At this time of year, homework is often a review of lessons from earlier in the semester, so kids often breeze through it - only half paying attention and not really minding if the answer is right or wrong.  The homework at this time of year should be taken just as seriously as any other time and end-of-year reviews are valuable because they make sure the student really understands the material for next year.  
  5. Get Outside - Allow your children to have some time outside in the changing air.  Now that the weather is nicer, maybe you can take the long route home, enjoying the warm spring breeze.  Forcing kids to sit inside and peer out longingly at the bright sun and blooming flowers is like eating a delicious chocolate cake in front of someone on a diet!  Simply dreaming about the weather outside may make your kids more restless and anxious for the summer, when planning your daily schedule - make sure some outdoor time is included.  
  6. Think Ahead to Next School Year - To kids, the next school year may seem eons away, but asking them to reflect and write or talk about the ups and downs of this school year while thinking ahead to the next may serve a double benefit.  First, students are able to consider, in the moment, what made this school year easy or hard and plan to do more of whatever made it easy.  Second, thinking of the school year to come may help kids to stay focused during the spring months, remembering that the summer is not endless and the next grade is just a couple months away.