It’s the time of year when summer days fade into crisp fall nights, and we trade sundresses for hoodies. The transition can be equal parts exciting and stressful when you add the back-to-school factor into the mix. However, this year back-to-school looks quite different and many parents, and kids, are probably feeling more stress than they are excitement. Motivation can be waning on the part of both parents and children.
When lack of motivation hits, the key is to control what you can and realize you only have so much agency. It’s all about having a plan and giving yourself grace when things don’t go as envisioned. We offer four practical ways to keep everyone motivated.
Set and maintain boundaries
Children learn by example. Most do best with some sort of routine, so be consistent and hold yourself accountable to maintaining physical and time-related boundaries. For example, work is to be done in one specific room or area of the house. This could be a great time to try time batching to create a productive schedule. As the saying goes, “a place for everything and everything in its place.”
Give the same consideration to your child’s remote learning environment by setting up a school workstation and schedules for work and play. You might consider introducing a device shutoff time. Smartphones are shown to disrupt sleep, and who has time for that?
The first weeks back can be hectic, and time is often at a premium. Whether it’s ordering your groceries online, subscribing to a meal delivery service, or taking some time off work, it’s important to free up your mental and physical energy to ease the transition. Emotional labor is real and can take a toll if you don’t have someone to share the load.
Make it fun
These are unprecedented times, and the future of work and school is unknown. When anxiety creeps in, stop and find pockets of joy in your day. Take a walk or have an impromptu dance party! Don't underestimate the power of a good laugh. Your child will likely welcome the break just as much as you do.
Kids also respond well to incentives. For example, if they get all their homework done by a certain time you might allow them an extra hour of TV time.
It’s easier to take on the day when you’re well-rested, hydrated, and eating a balanced diet. That applies to both adults and kids. It’s important to ensure that you and your children are eating healthy meals and getting enough exercise. Incorporating a workout into your hectic day can help you stay energized, focused, and balanced.