My friend, Marie, runs marathons. Did you hear me? MarathonS … plural. More than one! She’s even run the Boston. I find this impressive. I mean … it IS impressive. But, given that I couldn’t run a solid mile if I was being chased by an ax-murderer, I’m particularly impressed by those who run 26 miles BY CHOICE!
Marie says the thing about marathons is that “when you think it’s over, it’s not.” I think my blank stare encouraged her to elaborate: “When you hit that half-way point and you think you can’t go any farther, you just keep going.” OH! The lightbulb came on!
To me, finishing a marathon sounds A LOT like finishing the school year: “When you think it’s over, it’s not.” This is great advice to employ – for moms and kids alike!
I have been a public educator for 18 years, and one thing I can tell you is that the end of the year is rough. For everyone. Moms, dads, kids, and particularly, teachers. Here are 5 tips (from someone who knows) for ending your school year with a BANG:
1. Keep a steady pace: Just like running a marathon, consistency is the key! Sure, it’s okay to stop and walk every once in awhile – as long as you start running again! Stick with your established routines. Keep bedtime the same (or as close as possible). If you have required your kid to read for 15 minutes every night, don’t stop now just because school is almost over – in fact, keep that habit going all summer long!
2. Don’t let up on your training: As you near the date for your marathon, you don’t STOP running. Likewise, as you approach the end of the school year, don’t allow your kids to give up on their studies. Believe it or not, we do still give tests, assignments, and projects in the last weeks of school. This very week, in my middle school, 8th grade science students get to dissect frogs! However, if they did not complete the prep work, they don’t get to participate. I can’t tell you how many kids didn’t bother to do the prep work, therefore, they are missing the fun.
3. When you see a hill, remember there is always a decline on the other side: The end of the school year can be tough on kids. For as much as kids love summer, the routine, expectations, and social setting of school is also needed. Remember that these last few days and weeks may bring about some feelings of anxiety or restlessness in your child. Help them cope by talking about the new routine you will set for summer. Try to keep some parts of your school routine the same. (See the reading suggestion above.)
4. Take time to enjoy the scenery: If you happen to run your marathon in, say, sunny San Diego, you want to make sure you take time to ENJOY sunny San Diego while you’re there. The same holds true with the end of the school year. Something I like to remind myself when I’m feeling harried and rushed is that YOU WILL NEVER GET THIS MOMENT BACK. Your child will never again be a (insert grade here). Ever. (Okay, hopefully not.) Enjoy it. Embrace it. Savor it. Let the loveliness of this age, this grade, linger a bit.
5. Finish Strong: The last 5 miles of the race are NOT the time to slow your pace. The same holds true for school. Yes, the finish line is in sight – but now is not the time to start slacking off. It’s not the time to sleep in and come to school late, or cut out early on a Friday for a long weekend. No one stops a marathon with 5 miles to go – so why would you skip the last few days, weeks, or even minutes of the school year?
There you have it, friends – 5 easy-peasy steps for ending your school year with a bang! So, take a deep breath, get in your starting stance, and let’s finish this race together!