Since the start of the year, how many of us have been wanting, needing, practically begging for a break? It seems like even though Ms. COVID’s presence has made us Zoom everything and be mindful of everywhere we go, we have somehow become even busier. Imagine how our kids are feeling? For many of our students, they spent last year at home behind a computer all day completing schoolwork. While many have transitioned back into the traditional school building, it has not come without its share of difficulties and struggles.
This break serves as a reboot for all of us to get back on track, but especially for our children. I will get to learning and grades in a moment. Right now, we must focus our attention on our children’s mental health. In this new day and age of COVID precautions (I hate to say this) and active assailant drills, our children face so many stressors we may not realize they are dealing with. Weekly mental health check-ins are a necessity. Our kids need to know that we are a safe space to express their fears and concerns about the world around them. Though they may not admit it, children tend to take on the stress of their parents, knowingly or unknowingly. Our fears and worries trickle into them even though we do our best to shelter them from the world. Make sure you create opportunities to allow them to voice ANY and EVERYTHING to you. The old, “How was your day at school?” is just that. Old. Go deeper and help them release feelings that they bind up and suppress. Remember, your stresses don’t have to be theirs. Treat them with love and respect so they always feel comfortable coming to you for help, guidance, and reassurance.
Now on to the grades and learning! First and foremost, don’t sweat the small stuff. Your child(ren) is awesome! You know this. Let’s find out what your child’s strengths are. What have they been performing exceptionally well at during the first part of this year? Continue to support those subjects and interests. Let’s take a closer look at what needs to be strengthened. Notice, I said what needs to be strengthened and not, what are their weaknesses. We’re going to leave the word weakness out of our vocabulary as it pertains to our children.
I was always told I was bad at math or math was my weakness. So, at a young age, I believed that narrative. It wasn’t until I had a teacher tell me I was good at math and that we just needed to strengthen some components of how to understand mathematics. Changing that negative connotation of “weak,” to “strengthen,” gave me the confidence I needed to trust and believe in myself. It was no longer a 4-letter word in my eyes!
I love the point Education.com makes, “Enthusiasm rubs off, especially when it comes to learning new things. If your child or student sees that you’re sincerely enthusiastic about learning, they’re likely to become enthusiastic about learning. Whether it’s history, science, reading, writing, or even math, help him see that learning is a journey of exciting new discoveries. Take every opportunity – without being overwhelming or overbearing – to discover new information with him. As your child sees the joy and excitement learning brings to your life, he’ll begin to share your enthusiasm for learning new things as well.”
Let us not forget that just like adults, kids need breaks too. Take this time to allow your kids/students to relax, relate, release, and soak up all the memories of this special time. Create opportunities to make learning fun and memorable, especially during the break, to ensure their success and love for learning in the future.