Family Life

Spring Fever & Spring Cleaning: Keeping Your Family Motivated Through the End of the Semester

This last haul of the semester following Easter can be really difficult for school aged children from Kindergarten all the way to your kids in college. End of year testing combined with an uptick in social events and for older kids final exams can all add up to a really stressful period for families. Keeping your kids, especially your pre-teens and teenagers, motivated in their school work and their spirits high as the days to the end of school count down can be a real challenge, but here are some tried and true tips from my friend Kasi (whose children are now adults, and will admit to sometimes still needing this mid-Spring motivation!).

You are probably thinking, Okay Bethany, tips to keep the kids motivated for the end of the semester. Great. But what does that have to do with my Spring cleaning routine? Well, having your children get involved in some Spring cleaning of their own is going to have benefits for them and your home.

  1. Spring Clean Saturday Mornings:  Choose a spring cleaning task for every Saturday morning. You don’t want to overwork your kiddos, but you can get them invested in summer plans by having them clean out last year’s swimsuits, expired sunscreen and empty bug spray cans, shorts and sandals they’ve outgrown, get the beach towels refolded and water toys unpacked and dusted. This is going to do a couple of things for your kids:
    1. Get them excited about summer plans.
    2. Give them a physical task to do that can take their mind off school work for a while.
    3. Have your house ready to go for summer fun the minute school is over!

Getting them to clean out closets and under their beds are also great options, because giving them a task to keep their hands and minds busy will benefit them, but also having a clear space to retreat during this busy season will be good, too. Make sure that if your kids don’t need help with these tasks to use this time to do some cleaning out of your own!

2. Make plans for Saturday afternoon reward activities. Make the most of these Saturdays once you all do a little tidying up. Make plans to see a movie, go to the Sno Cone truck, make a trip to the comic book store or to Walgreens to pick out bubble bath. Make sure you tell your kids about these fun Saturday afternoon plans early in the week. That way, they have something to look forward to to get them through the weeks.

3. For older kids with end of year exams, implement “Study Sunday.” This is a real bit of gold Kasi advice: once her girls got in to middle school, she implemented “Study Sunday” towards the end of the semester. Study Sunday meant that Kasi had a clean workspace ready for her girls, lots of study materials like index cards, highlighters, graph paper, pencils and pens at the ready. She would turn on some music and every now and then deliver plates of snacks to the girls (and to all of their friends who decided to utilize the warm, library-like feel of her living room on Sundays to study). Creating an environment for her girls to study in and removing the need for them to hunt down materials made it easier for her girls to settle in and get their necessary work finished.

Give your older children a clean space to work with all the tools they need, plus some environmental supports like a calming candle scent and maybe some fresh baked cookies. Making arrangements like this for your pre-teens and teenagers will help them feel supported without feeling like you are “in their business.”



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