It’s Hell Week in Australia.
Week 7, Term 3 has been identified as the toughest week of the school year by researchers. Resilient Youth Australia has surveyed the wellbeing of 91,369 students in 600 communities across Australia and they say the results are clear; energy and motivation are lower in late Term 3.
We can respond in a couple of ways:
1. Strap ourselves in and hope for the best.
2. Reframe. We can make this a week to celebrate how far we’ve come and what we’ve achieved in 2022.
Why is it so awful?
Well, it’s been cold and a bit miserable for months so there haven’t been a lot of opportunities to get outside and run around. Add to that, the complications of COVID and our bad flu season…Yeesh!
It’s been a long time since there has been a holiday break and the end of term is too far away to dream about. Kids and teachers are all tired and getting a bit ragged and on edge.
For senior students, we are getting very close to final exams. They are just weeks away and the pressure is on. There is no doubt parents carry a lot of that stress too. And you can’t win, they want your help, but then they don’t want your help…push and pull. (If you want positive, practical strategies to support your child through final exams,read this article.)
So how do we make Hell Week into Highlight Week?
As we start Spring and the sun is out, how about we create a ritual of celebration sometime this week for kids? Give them something to look forward to. It might be a family games night, ice-cream after school on Friday, a family movie, or whatever your happy family rituals might be. Rituals bind us and give us a sense of purpose and resilience. They tell your kids, “I recognise that things are a bit tough at the moment, but we’re getting through it together.” This week is a great excuse to introduce a new ritual.
It’s also a good week for a progress report for your kids. Not one that looks at grades and schoolwork, but one that celebrates all the good things they are doing as a human being. Nothing gives kids a boost like some honest, affirming feedback from someone they love, especially if it is a bit humorous and playful.
This little example was a big hit on twitter when Shane Jackson (@ShaneJacks) decided his daughter needed a lift when she was struggling at school.
Be kind to yourself and your kids. It really is okay not to be feeling okay at the moment. Make sure you’re connecting with friends and family and taking time out for exercise and fun. Laugh. It really does help. It might also be nice to send an encouraging note to your children’s teachers. Just a thought.