Springtime is a time of renewal and change. For students, the spring months bring a change of routine and an increase in end-of-the-year academic and social activities. The transition to spring can be challenging for many students, but executive function (EF) strategies can them stay focused, manage their time effectively, regulate their emotions, and succeed.
During the springtime, many students experience a change in routine as they approach the end of the semester. They may have more outdoor activities and sports, social events, and academic deadlines approaching. Students may feel the shift towards a focus on state testing or end-of-year assessments. The increased stimulation and excitement of spring can also make it challenging to focus and stay organized. Additionally, seasonal allergies may affect cognitive function, including memory and attention.
Strategies to Try
Students can incorporate EF strategies to counteract these challenges.
- Create a schedule and stick to it. This will help students manage their time effectively and reduce the likelihood of feeling overwhelmed. It’s important that while students use their schedules, they maintain an open mindset when events change. Cognitive flexibility is key!
- Break down large projects into smaller tasks. The end of the school year brings many long-term projects and big assignments. To combat the stress these assignments can bring, teach students to split their projects into smaller, more manageable tasks and to prioritize items on their to-do list. This will help them stay organized and focused on what is most important. The lessons from SMARTS Unit 4 Organizing and Prioritizing Materials and Time can be particularly helpful.
- Practice mindfulness and self-care. Remind students to take care of themselves during this stressful time as they balance increased demands inside and out of school. By taking breaks to relax and recharge, students can reduce stress and boost their mental resilience. They can also use techniques such as deep breathing and visualization to stay calm and focused during stressful situations. Lastly, remind students about the benefits of getting enough sleep!
The transition to springtime can be exciting and challenging for students. Help them to succeed by incorporating EF strategies such as scheduling, task prioritization, and self-care.
- Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate
SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org
Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org