Now that the calendar has been flipped to May, we all start talking about summer plans, summer camps, and finding time to relax with family. All that unstructured time can be difficult for families to have to readjust to a schedule. For some families, this can create struggles and disagreements amongst each other. I have found a parenting article: https://www.parents.com/kids/development/behavioral/trouble-at-school/, with advice on how to help prepare for the transition. “Change—even good change—is hard on children. It's disorienting for them not to know what to expect," says Parents advisor Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., author of What About Me?: 12 Ways to Get Your Parents' Attention Without Hitting Your Sister.
Stick to a Schedule - This time of year our calendars get booked up with all the “end of the year” parties and school events. This makes it hard for children to keep to a schedule. How does your family react when they are overbooked? Feel free to turn down some activities for the sanity of your family. The parties and events sound like fun, but it may not be fun if everyone is cranky the next day. Make the right decision for your family and face your “fear of of missing out”.
Maintain Friendships: At the beginning of summer, look at your calendar and find times to schedule playdates with friends. Find a camp for the kids to do together or just invite a friend over to the house for a few hours. It’s good for kids to stay connected and learn how to manage their social time with their friends in person, not just on their device. It’s also good for kids to make new friends. If your child is attending a camp, make sure to tour the facility and meet the counselors ahead of time to help ease with the transition.
Watch Your Words: Watch your child's reaction to talking about the next year. Are they nervous talking about being a year older? Are they nervous about going to a new school building? Are they disappointed that a friend isn’t returning or transitioning to the same school? Don’t just brush off their nervousness and anxiety. Listen to them and pay attention to their nonverbals. Change is inevitable, but talking about it too much doesn’t necessarily make it easier. Can you think about your transitions as a kid? Share some stories about how you handled this time in your life.
Inspire Education: Don’t just stop learning because your child isn’t in school. Find camps the children will be engaged in and enjoy learning and broadening one’s perspective. Find workbooks and challenge your child to make a goal of completing it before the end of the summer. Find ways to make learning fun by attending local museum programs. Look up information at your local library for age appropriate discussions and workshops. Here is a list of other fun and interactive activities to try over the summer:
- Deck of cards: used as flashcards/game of war
- Sidewalk chalk to write out math problems, spelling words
- Library programs, free books, audio books
- Museum programs
- Board games: Yahtzee, Boggle, etc
- License plate game: addition, subtraction, math and states
- Crafts for fine motor skills
- Workbooks: inexpensive books at 5 Below
- Kids cook night: theme nights learn about different countries
- Daily journals about summer vacation
- Volunteer programs and community service
- Research High Schools for future visits
- Parks programs: visit parks, register for programs
- A-Z games: items in the grocery store
- Missing items games
- Plant a garden