How can you balance play time and studies at the start of the school year
After the long summer vacation, it's raining school books and homework for children. There is the early morning wake-ups when even getting them out of bed can be a challenge. Then there is the 'finish your homework' marathon, where there are no clear winners at times as you battle playtime, eat time, and sleep time. When they are just back from school, they are too tired to sit down right away; when they come back from play, they may be hungry, and then, yes, yes... sleepy!
Why you need to have that study-play balance
All work and no play makes a child dull...
Work-life balance is something that all of us try and achieve. Most of us do balance work, time with family, friends, alone time etc. to be successful. For a child, study/ play balance is like work-life balance. If they do not get time to play, they cannot grow to their full potential. However, studying and learning through some formal means is also essential. Balancing both so that you do not lag behind at school and get overwhelmed eventually is important.
How do you get your child into the work and play balance?
The beginning of the school year can be very chaotic and even stressful for parents and children alike. There are new classes (for some, even new schools), new classmates, new subjects and new friends. In the midst of all this, there is also a need to focus on keeping up with classwork and of course, the all-important work of childhood, play!
So how can you help get that play and schoolwork balance in your child's life?
Build it up - As school vacations come to a close, build it up with your child. Talk to them about how the school will be, why they need to get organized to sleep, eat, play, and work on time. How it can be fun to make new friends in a new school and why keeping up with school work means regular playtime and not trying to play catch up. Get new supplies. It works every time.
Ease into it - If vacations have been about slightly more relaxed sleep times and not so tight eat times, its time to pull those socks up and get with it. Before the holidays end, make sure you set the time table and try and make it a more regular schedule.
Get organized - A time for everything and everything in its time. Schedule time for everything. This does not mean having a minute to minute calendar, but more about listing all important things and making sure that there is enough time for all. Dinner time is as valuable as play time or sleep time. A general idea and an adherence to the same schedule will ensure nothing gets missed.
Have separate play and study areas if possible. When they sit down with school work, it's essential they associate it with that alone. Distractions must be removed so that they can finish as soon as they can, with complete attention to what they are doing. It's not a competition, but it's important to focus on what is at hand. This training will help them later on as well.
Keep some open time. Not everything can be scheduled and it's important to let children have some time without ear-marking it for a specific purpose. Some idle time helps adjust the work-play time.
A new school year can be fun and exciting as it's a chance to explore something that the child has not done before; be it new subjects, friends, teachers, or more. Make it better for your child by ensuring they have a great play-work balance and watch them thrive. Happy new school year!