Ah, here it is, nearly Spring. This is the time of school year when the various blues set in. Holidays have long passed, and kids are looking for the lazy days of summer!
In times like these, I counsel parents to hang on and stay the course. No big life altering changes or decisions right now. Spring Cleaning is in order. In with the new fresh air, and out with the old stale air!
The end of March usually marks the beginning of “testing season.” And you thought tax season was the only worry! Kids are anxious from winter lock down and just want to go outside and play! Seniors of all ages are experiencing senioritis—itching to move forward. Many are still awaiting college decisions. And the school administration is busy planning for next year. YES! Next year. In March.
Let me take you behind the scenes and backstage at school for some insight:
As I mentioned, March and April begin the testing season. Standardized testing for the young children through middle school. SAT, ACT, and Exit Exam testing for the High School kids. There is much going on in Administration with enrollment numbers and thoughts of fall. Teacher contracts are being considered, and budgets tightened more than we could even think possible.
Parenting groups are selecting new officers for the upcoming school year. There may be some panic if the budget has not yet been met, or if volunteer interest has decreased.
Everyone is a bit on edge from the Administration down to the kids. We all need a break, and it seems as if there is not a break in sight! But as I have mentioned, stay the course. There will be an end in sight. How to survive?
Understand, that testing, standardized or otherwise is not fun for anyone. A lot of procedures have to be followed to the letter. One wrong move on procedure and the place goes crazy! High security takes place on campus to protect the tests, and even the best teachers stress over whether or not they have brought their students up to snuff.
Now is a time to consider coffee and morning muffins for an over stressed staff! A basket of fresh fruit for the lounge is always welcome, and it does not take a big group to provide.
For younger children who are not yet testing, a lot of work is going into year-end. Will the child be at their expected level and meet the district benchmark by June, let alone the state requirements? Not much time left to figure this out. What seemed like an eternity in September is now closing in, and closing in fast!
What can you do at home?
Prepare your child every single day with a healthy morning meal. Now is the time for power breakfasts! Breakfast does not have to be cereal, but can even be pizza from the night before. Even a bowl of pasta. Peanut butter toast with a side of fruit. Let your child choose his favorites. Make it high in protein and low in sugar.
Understand that kids of all ages may be feeling stress right about now, but don’t always know how to communicate what they are feeling. Look for signs. Excessive fighting with siblings, or unusual sensitivity and mood swings. Kids have subtle ways of letting you know they need you. Sometimes they choose negative attention. Make sure to balance the day with lots of play. Now is the time to break a rule in the interest of fun! If your child is testing, be sure they have plenty of sleep! Soft classical music playing in their room does rest the mind.
Be sure to clear your calendar and make sure you are on task with conferences at school. This is not the time to miss if your child needs extra help before the end of the year. You would be surprised at what can be accomplished in as little as four weeks with a child who may be headed down the wrong path academically.
What is my best advice? Be available. Just for today, set aside your worries and stresses, and put your child first. Encourage success, and talk about the fun you will have when spring break finally arrives. Remind your kids that character, and good behavior goes a long way in making the time fly. Mention that summer is just around the corner and can you believe (insert grade level here) will be over? Kids love looking forward! And so will you!