The holidays are over, yet Spring is still months away. And, on top of it all, I’ve got a second grader that has decided to attempt to boycott homework and/or school on an almost daily basis (by the way, he doesn’t win, but he does try!). So, to help us through this chilly, “blah” time of the year, I’ve mapped out a few activities to put a spark back in our day. At least once a week, I plan a special “after school” activity for my son. The stipulation, though, is that he’s had a great week or so of staying with his school work and doing his best. Having something like these activities on the horizon is enough to keep him motivated while we wait for the weather to warm and Spring Break to arrive.
- Playdates. This is great on so many levels. I don’t mind having an extra child over every now and then, and many parents are willing to reciprocate. We can work these around pretty much any schedule, on weekends, even an overnight every now and then. And, I get to know his friends a little better as well as their families, which is so important for child safety and development.
- Special After-School Snacks. While I’m not thrilled with sweets, I do find that a cup of hot cocoa on a chilly day goes a long way to making homework time more productive. We also have not-so-hot cider from time to time, too, just to take the chill off and get our minds “warmed up” for homework time.
- Change Of Location. Sometimes, it just takes a change of scenery to make homework more fun. While my son usually does his homework at the kitchen table, he has also used my bedroom and office, the porch, and even set up an area in the living room on the floor. For a true location change, try places like the public library, a coffee shop, or even a neighbor’s house. My next door neighbor and I actually swapped kids one afternoon; she worked with my son on his homework, and I kept her son with me for homework time. Both boys had a blast “switching places”!
- Theme-Related Activity. When my son’s class finishes a big unit, I try to find a fun activity to use as a reward. After his class finished their dinosaur unit, we visited the local Children’s Museum to see their visiting Dinosaur exhibit. And, when his PE class learned about basketball basics, I took him to the local high school to watch a game (cheap and not crowded!). If your child’s class has been talking about hibernation, why not set up the blanket-tent in the living room and do a little hibernating together?
- King For A Day. This is perfect for those “nothing weekends” – the ones where nothing is going on! Put your child “in charge” for the day. Let her choose her own clothes, what to have for breakfast and lunch (from a set of choices – make it a win-win for both of you!), and which games or activities to play. My son also gets to make up a silly rule on his day, such as Mommy has to wear all her clothes backwards or everyone has to call him The Man. You get the picture.