Summer is here and it brings a bunch of mixed emotions. Excitement for not having to rush and adhere to a timed schedule, hurrying against the clock to get your child fed, packed, and off to school on time. For those being promoted or graduating it is a time of celebration. All the hard work from the school year is now over and summer relaxation can begin.
However, for those used to a rigid routine, having time off can create anxiety and stress. Parents who have to work and are unable to take off now have to fill a child's schedule on a limited budget.
Regardless of budget, routine changes can be difficult for everyone and it is important to acknowledge those feelings and discuss how you are going to implement a new routine to help your child and family adjust.
Another area of concern is children who have behavioral or learning challenges have a tough time transitioning into summer.
Here are some tips that will help minimize stress and make sure summer is enjoyable.
Try to make a new routine that is close to your school routine. Even though your child will be in a different routine during the day, the morning and evening routines will be similar. Children find stability in a routine, so having a schedule for meals, play, and bedtime routines helps your child acclimate to a new schedule. When children know what to expect it makes their lives less stressful.
2. Taking it OUTSIDE
Outdoor activities can provide many educational opportunities. Textures, sights, and
sounds can be explored by your family. Vitamin D from the sun has been proven to help
your mental health. Studies have shown that just a mere 20 minutes of being exposed
outside to sunlight has neurological and physiological benefits. Playing games such as I
spy or hide and seek outside, going on scavenger hunts, or collecting rocks for you to
paint are all great examples of healthy and fun activities you can do outside.
3. Allow your child to have some downtime
The transition from school to summer can be a huge adjustment for everyone. Allowing your child to take some time to adjust to the change and making sure they are able to communicate their anxiety or frustrations will allow you to help them adjust. It is crucial that they know they are able to speak to you and you will listen to them. Giving them downtime it will allow them to take in the changes they have to face and decompress prior to the next activity.
4. Learning Opportunities
Take the time to have fun while learning. You can take photos, print them and create a book. If your child likes to draw, you can have them make the pictures and then write simple captions. I did this with my son when he was 6. We loved the author, Mo Willems. We discussed what we would like to draw in the book. My son loves the beach so we made a book about Piggy & Gerald going to the beach. We spent the summer drawing, and he was able to practice his handwriting but in a fun way. At the end of the summer, I bound the book and we showed it to his teacher. She loved it so much that she took it home and read it to her son. That made my son feel very proud and accomplished.
When working on simple addition, I used M & M’s to decorate cookies. I color-coded the numbers for example the number 1 had 1 red M & M, Yellow had 2, and Green had 3. Then I would take the M & M’s and add them. So 1 Red +2 Green equaled 3 M & M’s. The colors made it clear to see the addition. Then we would use those M & M’s to decorate cookies which he got to eat as a reward.
Summer should be a fun time full of seasonal activities you are only able to do for a brief period of time. Use this opportunity to explore, educate and have fun!!