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9 Ways to Finish the School Year Strong

Amber Brandt  |  May 05, 2023
If you’ve ever put in a two-weeks’ notice at a place of employment, you know how difficult it can be to stay plugged in, even with the best of intentions. Your heart has already moved on to what’s ahead and your brain is struggling to stay put. 

The same is true at the end of the school year, for you and your child. You’re anticipating a slower schedule, great weather and perhaps a fun vacation you’ve been planning for months. They’re dreaming about outside play and a break from homework. We can all agree it would be oh-so-tempting to simply phone it in - coasting to the end. But like most things that require discipline, finishing the school year strong is not only the hard thing, it’s the best thing. With this in mind, here are some practical ways you can ensure the transition from school year to summer doesn’t happen too quickly:

  1. Tie up loose ends. To date, are all of your child’s assignments complete? Check with their teacher to make sure everything has been turned in and there’s a grade for every assignment. If the answer is no, you’ll still have time to wrap things up.
  2. Send your kids outdoors. No one likes being cooped up inside for too long, especially when the weather is so nice. Encouraging your kids to go out and play after school will help clear their heads, give them some fresh air and burn off extra energy. Making this time in the evening will help them be more likely to keep their head in the game during class.
  3. Help them seize the moments. As the anticipation for summer grows, it’s easy to take school days for granted. Remind them it’s not too late to make a new friend. Is there someone they’ve wanted to sit with at lunch, but just haven’t asked? Or maybe they’ve had a teacher they really love. Encourage them to take time create a special thank you note or gift.
  4. Ease their anxieties. End-of-the-year pressures are real. Testing and final projects can take a mental toll. Remind your child of their strengths, all they’ve accomplished this year and assure them you’ll help them reach the finish line strong.
  5. Stack the deck in their favor. Maintain a healthy sleep schedule for your child and load them up with a protein-packed breakfast before they head out the door.
  6. Ask for their ideas. Because their perspective is so different, your child may surprise you with their own ideas for finishing the year well. Crowd source their thoughts with questions like: What are two things you can do to end the academic year strong? How can you help your classmates to do the same?
  7. Manage the summer creep. Don’t let your child’s schedule get overcrowded with spring sports or year-end events. Safe guard their energy and help them maintain a healthy balance of play and work.
  8. Acknowledge what is. It’s okay to admit you’re tired too. Remind your child that you’re all in this together - then find ways to be intentional together.
  9. Help them process. Take time to help your child reflect on their accomplishments and struggles throughout the year. Unpack highs and lows with questions like: Did you make a new friend this year? How were you helpful? What did you learn about yourself? What tough challenges did you overcome?

Resisting the urge to turn on autopilot during the last few weeks of school can be tricky, but it’s well worth it - you’ll set a great example for your kids and help them finish well.