Change these 4 things for a smoother, smarter spring semester
The ball has dropped bringing in the New Year, but that doesn't mean we can drop the ball with academic performance. As the new semester begins to warm up, it’s a good time to look back at the last semester to see how to encourage our kids to maintain or improve their academic success.
Every time a new semester rolls around, it’s easy to sit back and say that things are going to be different. But real change requires proactive planning. Try sitting down the week before classes start with your child and make a list of the top five things that they would like to do differently this semester. Post that list above their desk or somewhere that your kids will see it as a constant reminder of their semester goals.
As you prepare this list, take a look at these four tips to reset and make this an organized and successful semester for your family.
Start Mornings Right
Sometime in early January, the day comes when lazy mornings must end and alarm clocks must be set again. When mornings are colder, a warm bed seems so much more inviting. And, with less daylight it can be even more difficult for your body to naturally wake up.
Just as we suggested for the new school year, easing back into the morning is the best way to prep for the new semester. Commit to three simple things to start mornings off right:
- No “snoozing” allowed.
- Take a lukewarm shower.
- Eat breakfast.
These fundamentals are things we often forego for a little extra sleep, but they all help our brains and bodies wake up, setting the tone for our day and for our success. Your kids might protest at first, but soon, they’ll find they appreciate these small changes that make a big difference.
For more ideas, take a look back at our 4 Tips for a Better Morning.
Make a Family Calendar
One of the hardest parts about the beginning of a new semester is getting back into the swing of coordinating all those activities. Try setting a calendar up where your whole family can always see it. That way your kids will be able to coordinate their activities, and you’ll be less likely to double-book!
One cost effective solution is to get a blown up blank calendar template laminated. You can use different colored dry-erase markers to easily make changes and organize events by child. Take a snapshot of the calendar with your phone each week to keep up with what’s changed. You can then easily clean it off and change it at the beginning of each new month.
Out with the Old
As soon as winter break starts, the backpack gets thrown in the closet and ignored until school is back in session. Before the backpack goes into its short hibernation, clean it out for the new semester. That way you don't have to sort through the old work from the beginning of August to look at notes for an upcoming test.
With empty folders and a clean backpack, your child will feel like they’re going back to school with a lighter load, and they’ll be able to maintain organization more successfully over the course of the new semester. Plus, nothing feels better than scrapping some old math notes. (But be sure to keep what you need for year-end finals!)
Say No to Procrastination
Procrastination is the easiest trap to fall into, and we are all unfortunately prone to putting things off and telling ourselves that they can wait till after one more episode of whatever show you’ve gotten hooked on.
Try getting your kids to sit down at the beginning of each week and make a checklist of things on the horizon for the upcoming week. You and your kids can reference the list to keep track of what they have on the horizon. Frequent visual reminders mean they won't be as likely to suddenly remember a big project the night before it is due. Then, on Friday night, they can look back at the list and see what they’ve accomplished that week. If you have multiple children, try having them share their lists with one another as a way of teaching them to hold each other respectfully accountable.
These tips are sure-fire ways to reorient your kids for the spring semester and make it a season of success for the whole family. If you’re looking for more ways to make positive changes in your child’s academic experience, consider applying some of the ways to overcome new school year nerves to the new semester.