Before you know it, another school year is closing out. Your child is no doubt already used to their regular routine, their daily schedule and structured school day. The start of summer vacation, like the start of a new school year, can bring on certain challenges for your child.
Although your child is likely excited to start their summer break, you may be experiencing some anxiety. You no longer have the structured school activities to fall back on like:
- Executive functioning skills
- Sensory processing skills
- Building academic skills
- Perfecting these skills
However, summer can actually be a great time to continue practicing and perfecting these essential skills. By properly planning and preparing this summer transition, you can minimize some of these challenges. Here are five tips to help ease your child's transition to summer.
1. Keep Their Routines
Although you don't have to get your child up super early to catch the school bus, you shouldn't stop enforcing important routines. You can adjust bedtime routines for your older children a little by allowing them to stay up later at night to watch TV or hang with friends. But, if you put their regular nighttime routine completely on hold for the next couple of months, you'll make it harder for them to make that transition back to school when the time comes.
2. Maintain Their Friendships
When going too long without friend interaction, many children end up feeling lonely. Therefore, arrange some "playdate" time with their school friends. This is also a great opportunity to make new friends too. Encourage social interactions by enrolling your children in summer activities outside the home like camp, for instance.
3. Encourage Continued Learning
Summer outings and trips are perfect for keeping your children learning. Talk, play and explore together. When days are too hot or rainy, bring your kids to places like the museum or the local library. Check out some books from the library so you can read together either at night in bed in their cozy pajamas or maybe at the park or beach.
4. Make Plans Together
Engage your children in plan-making to allow them to take an active role in the upcoming summer months and foster positive feelings. Let them decide on which outings and activities they'd like to do during the summer.
5. Enforce Structure for Your Teens and Tweens
Remind your teen or tween at the start of summer that their curfew still exists, although you may allow them a little leeway. Make sure they keep up with their summer reading or helping out with household chores. Perhaps they can sign up for some volunteer community service or go out and find a part-time summer job.
You can get other tips to each your child into summer from their school guidance counselor, pediatrician or pediatric occupational therapist.