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How to Keep Children Engaged Throughout the School Year

How to keep kids motivated through the school year.

Frost has crept across the grass, the thrill of winter break is in the rear view and the excitement of a new school year has worn off. This is when kids start to drag their feet a little more on school mornings as they return for the start of the second semester. How do you keep them motivated to finish the last months of the school year with gusto?

1. Set goals

It’s important to let your child know you have high expectations for her throughout the year, not just the first semester. Work with your child to set goals for success and reward her for meeting her goals. Some kids may need an academic goal, while others might need to strive for punctuality or timeliness with assignments. Work with your child’s teacher to devise a set of relevant goals specific to your child. Rewards could include a family outing, extra screen time or the choice of a special toy.

2. Stay positive

A positive attitude can go a long way for both parents and kids. Focus on the joys of scholastic enrichment, time with friends and upcoming events to remind your child that school is still as fun as it was back in August. Your child will pick up on your upbeat attitude and share it.

3. Show interest

When your child returns home from school, ask her how she spent her time. Ask about her friends and the highs and lows of the day. Listen attentively and ask questions. When it is homework time, be available to help and answer questions. Children mirror parents’ engagement, so if you are interested in the goings-on at school, your kids will be, too.

4. Get involved

Kids who are involved in school activities tend to be more excited about school. Encourage your child to join clubs and/or after-school activities so that he or she can spend time with friends who have similar interests. Parents can also get involved at the school to break up the mid-year blues. When parents volunteer at the school, it shows your child that his role as a student is valued. Check with your school to see what volunteer opportunities are available.

5. Continue healthy habits

Encourage your child to get a good night’s rest, eat a healthy breakfast and focus on good study habits. An after-school routine to complete homework and chores will help your child fall back into the school schedule after winter break. Set aside time for free play as well. Host a play date, have a movie night, go to the park if weather allows or schedule time for fun and relaxation so kids don’t get too bored with their routine.

If the mid-year blues still get to your child, don’t hesitate to contact his or her teacher to discuss a plan to get your child back on track. Soon enough, the days will get longer, the temperatures warmer and school will be out for summer once again.


Sarah Lyons is  a freelance writer.

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