I must admit - I love vacations with my family! I love picking a destination, finding a place to stay, Googling what there is to do in the area, finding new, yummy places to eat and of course anticipating the shopping that will most surely be done. I love to plan activities knowing we will enjoy some family time together. I don’t even mind the packing that comes before we leave. As my kids have gotten older, packing has become easier for me as they can get themselves ready. The difficult part is what to take to keep everyone occupied in the car.
The last time we took a road trip, we sat in the driveway reviewing the mental checklist, making sure we had enough things to keep everyone occupied for the 10-hour road trip. Do we have enough DVD’s to watch? Does everyone have their own electronic devices? Do we have car chargers for all of the electronic devices? Do we have enough snacks to eat? Do I have that book I’ve been wanting to read? Whew! After several more trips in and out of the house, we are finally ready to head out for our destination. Just as we make our way down the street and turn onto the main road, the dreaded question comes: “Are we there yet?”
Are you kidding me?!?!?! We are not even five minutes away from our house, and someone is asking THAT QUESTION! “No, we are not there yet. We now only have 9 hours and 55 minutes left.” I can’t complain too much though, because after about an hour, I am thinking the same thing!! I love when the GPS finally says, “You have now reached your destination!”
Now that spring break has ended, and we are down to the last weeks of the school year, that same question is being asked in my house about summer. Don’t misunderstand me - I do love school, but spring break is merely a “teaser” to the lazy days of summer. This time of year my family starts to contemplate that question: "Are we there yet?" At this point I have to encourage everyone that we are not “there” yet, and we need to finish strong. But in my own mind, I too am thinking about summer and all of the fun that goes with it. It is difficult to keep focused on 8 more weeks of school when summer seems to be banging at our doorstep!
What is a mom to do?
First, try to stay as routine as possible.
I have four children ranging from college to the fifth grade. This time of year is full of activities. Just look at the school calendar - achievement testing, ACT/SAT testing, Prom, band concerts, choir concerts, awards programs, sports events, church activities to name just a few. On any given week, we as a family can have an activity going on every night. Sometimes routine is the very last thing we can achieve, but it is necessary for sanity sake. Studies show that everyone thrives better with routine. With all of the craziness of “end of the year” activities, strive to keep your home life as regular as possible. Sometimes it may mean declining extra “stuff” to maintain normalcy.
Second, maintain the normal bedtime
Kids need sleep! I know it seems as though I am stating the obvious, but when I reflect on some of our daily schedules, I think sleep is often neglected. With spring comes longer hours of daylight and later bedtimes. Research says kids ages 4-6 need 10-12 hours per day. Kids between the ages of 7-12 need 10-11 hours of sleep a day and 12-18 year olds need 8-9 hours a day. Sleep is critical for children to stay healthy, grow, learn, do well in school, and function at their best. Often time crabbiness/orneriness is in direct correlation with lack of sleep. Even with all of the everyday business, it is important to keep a routine bedtime. Be purposeful when planning your extracurricular activities providing ample time for your child to get enough sleep.
Finally, finish strong!!
I was at a track meet recently, watching the girls compete in the 100 hurdles. As the girls were racing toward the finish line, one competitor fell over one of the hurdles. She was clearly out of the race with no chance of winning; however, rather than walking off the track and quitting, she got up to finish the race. Even though she was the last one, she finished strong. What an incredible example of someone who persevered until the very end.
With thoughts and plans of summer looming in the background, students begin to wonder, “Are we there yet?” to which our reply should be, “Not quite but don’t quit and finish strong.” How do we finish strong? As a parent help your student to plan ahead and not procrastinate until the last minute. Offer some incentives that will motivate your child to complete projects. Continue to make school a priority. This shows your student that the last weeks of school is just as important as the first. Paul encouraged his readers to finish strong when he wrote these words in I Timothy 4:7 when he says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Don’t lose heart! These next eight weeks will fly by and all too soon we will be at our destination: summer! But until then, make sure that you finish strong!!!!
Missy Green is a K4 teacher at Lakeland Christian School. You can reach her by firstname.lastname@example.org.