For any child heading back to school after a break, it is important that they adjust to the busy routine smoothly. It’s easy for your child to tire out with many assignments and homework on their to-do lists every other day. That too, alongside commitments to extra co-curricular activities.
As a parent, observing how your child behaves when they are back to school is essential. Picking out signs of burnout early on makes it easy for you to identify the problems and find solutions. Some of these signs include procrastination — your child no longer feels motivated to get schoolwork done. Reminders from teachers are also evidence that your child lacks interest in school. Others include anxiety (crying at night or before heading to school) and irritation (easily annoyed or upset with the smallest things).
Ensuring that your child has enough rest time amid the hustle each day helps them recharge. This does not simply mean more sleep. It is also about allowing the mind to rest, taking it away from the stresses and demands of school and letting it relax.
What does this do for them? It keeps them happy and lively. More importantly, it helps them stay motivated at school. Laying some groundwork to help your child find that time to unwind will go a long way.
Here’s how you can do that for your child.
1. Encourage more breaks in the daily routine
Routines allow your child to segment their day into meaningful nuggets of time. While academic hours and homework would take up most of their days, it is important that they actively take more breaks. Research has shown that regular short breaks can improve a child’s productivity at school, and thus reduce stress. Since you have more control over what goes on after school, you can introduce pockets of break time in your child’s routine when they return home. This can include encouraging them to take a nap before beginning their homework. While they complete their assignments at home, you can also advise them to follow the Pomodoro technique. This divides their time into 25-minute intervals with a five-minute break after each interval. After four intervals are completed, they can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. With an online Pomodoro timer, it’s easy to get started!
2. Limiting extra lessons
With school already taking up a huge bulk of their time, engaging your child in extra lessons like tuition can put a toll on their mental health. Should your child require more help outside of school, you can consider enrolling them into a community-based student care centre that offers a structured curriculum to holistically engage students after school.
Take MindSpace after school student care programmes, for instance. Through proprietary learning techniques, your child not only studies concepts in English, Mathematics and Chinese but they are also taught the ways to master and apply them in school. This means they do away with rote learning and memorisation which is often the case in tuition. At the same time, they enjoy an ample amount of breaks in which they engage with their peers and make friends. Here, they can unwind, chat on mutual topics, and take their minds away from school.
Such programmes not only eliminate the need for tuition but it also reduces the stress these extra lessons often place on your child. Plus, the social element of MindSpace student care programme brings in an element of play, which offers a good balance to the academic environment.
3. Plan more family bonding activities
Having more family time is also conducive to your child’s mental health. Engaging in fun bonding activities for downtime like outdoor cycling, movie nights or cooking sessions offer restorative benefits. It prevents the mind from being in constant overdrive. Plus, with MindSpace after school care curriculum taking place between 2pm and 7pm, it’s easy for your child to have a restful bonding time with the family in the evening, around dinner and before bedtime.
4. Give your child “me time”
While family bonding time is great for relaxation, it is also important to let your child enjoy being on their own. “Me time”, as it is called, allows your child to engage in their favourite activities on their own. This could be a simple game on the computer or reading a book. They could even write in their journal, reflecting on what they have learnt in class and after school care.
A step towards mindfulness, “me time” activities let your child not only get comfortable with being on their own but also allow them to gain more focus, creative skills and find emotional stability. This pocket of time essentially allows your child to rest their mind and prepare for a new day ahead. That said, if your child enjoys such activities before bedtime, they should get to bed on time as per routine so they don’t lose out on sleep, which is also an essential part of their rest.
As parents, you need to take active steps to ensure that your child has enough downtime even amid a busy school semester. Marrying break time with enriching curriculums, our student care centre is one step in that direction. Get in touch with us or book a visit to a nearby MindSpace student care centre to learn more!