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Nancy Coolidge | Keeping kids focused over spring break is no picnic

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We didn’t have much of a winter this year until spring was imminent.

It’s hard to guess what kind of spring we’ll have, but if the past week is indicative, it should be lovely. My dog spends more time on the back porch waiting for the birds she loves to chase. I am yearning to plant seeds, but hold back because I know it’s too soon. It’s hard to believe that we are only days away from spring break — several weeks away from summer.

The kids, normally stricken with spring fever, are still in winter mode. But that’s about to change and so it’s time for my stirring encouragement for parents to help your kids stay focused until the end of the year.

It starts with spring break. Make sure there is some sort of “academic” activity — a diary or journal, a book the family reads together, field trips with discussions. If you go to a movie, talk about it. If you have a bunch of family in the house, write about relationships. If you play games, have your kids keep score. The point is, keep the mind active.

And remember that the weekend before they return to school you should get back to school bed times and wake ups.

Talk about the importance of school and keeping good grades and working hard. Check in weekly with your kids’ teachers — remember, you can do this online — because grades tend to drop at all grade levels during this time of the school year.

Check in with your children daily. Do not ask yes or no questions. It’s too easy for the kids to answer “no” when you ask if there’s homework — “yes” when you ask if they finished their work at school. Ask them to show you, describe to you, discuss with you.

Track seems to take our kids out of school more than any other sports, so remember that your kids are still responsible for their school work even though they are participating in sports. Encourage them to eat really healthfully and sleep more so they are better equipped to handle the increased pressures of school and competition.

Remember that this is also state testing season, so in addition to everything else, they are expected to perform well on state-mandated testing, much of which is a requirement for graduation.

So encourage, help, support. Let’s end the school year with great grades, great attitudes and great success.

Wenatchee resident Nancy Coolidge is a classroom teacher, radio personality and director of several Sylvan Learning Centers. You can ask her a question by posting a comment on her Good Habits, Great Grades blog at or by emailing