October is that time of the school year when students often come up against a ‘slump.’ The initial excitement of a new academic year and reconnecting with friends, as well as the novelty of the early units and lessons, gradually give way to a sense of routine. Which for some students, means tedium and boredom. It’s during this month that students begin to feel the weight of the real work ahead. The challenges are real and motivation can dwindle.
This is the point in the academic calendar when parents and guardians play a pivotal role in sustaining their children’s effort and motivation. Here are a few tips for helping your child do their best, even when school starts to be “boring.”
1. Connect Back to Their Goals
When students reach their ‘slump,’ it’s important to remind them of their long-term goals and aspirations. Encourage them to reflect on what they want to achieve academically and in life. Are they trying to graduate early? Are they trying to prepare for a dream career? Are they hoping to go to college? Connecting their work to these larger goals can help them see a path forward through the slump.
2. Celebrate Progress
Sometimes, the weight of upcoming assignments and tests can make the progress students have made so far feel insignificant or small. That’s not true! Take the time to celebrate your child’s accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. Recognize their hard work and the improvements they’ve achieved, whether it’s about grades, projects, sports, social skills, or personal growth. Positive reinforcement can boost their motivation and make them want to keep making progress. The progress reports sent by EYC teachers every other week can be a great time to celebrate with your child the progress they are making!
3. Promote a Growth Mindset
Encourage your child to embrace a growth mindset. Intelligence and abilities aren’t fixed; they can be developed through dedication and hard work. When students see setbacks as steps towards improvement, it can increase their motivation to get through the slump in order to see the progress they make on the other side. In our school, we have a whole setup comparing a growth and fixed mindset. So if your child says they don’t know what a growth mindset is, they can remind themselves at school the next day!
The October slump is a natural phase in the academic year, but it doesn’t have to spell doom for students’ motivation and effort. With the right strategies and support from teachers and families, it’s possible to steer students through the slump! By helping them connect their work to their long-term goals, celebrate their progress so far, and build a growth mindset, we can ensure that they not only survive but thrive throughout the semester.