While there’s no doubt the end of the school year is an exciting time (especially for kiddos), it can also be stressful. The transition from school year to summer break can create challenges for both parents and children, so it’s best to ease into it with a plan to ensure that everyone is healthy, happy and ready to create lasting summer memories.
Here are six of the best ways to prepare yourself and your family for a successful summer break.
Create and Keep a Routine
All children feel a greater sense of stability with structure and a routine, but children dealing with anxiety or ADHD are especially dependent on it. Without the schedule that school provides, how your child spends their time during the day can quickly get out of hand, but a routine can help. Try to keep the same wake up time, mealtimes and bedtime as during the school year, while filling the day with activities. Get your kids involved by creating a posted daily schedule that they can decorate and view regularly.
The bright, sunny days of summer are meant for playing outside. Plus, physical activity is great to keep kids active, healthy and away from screens. The Blue Squirrel Clubhouse is made for hours of outdoor physical play thanks to a rock climbing wall, soccer net, swing, slide and more. Don’t have a Clubhouse just yet? Try a family bike ride or hike, or swimming classes at the local pool.
Create a Behavior System
Many schools follow a behavioral system that’s easy to replicate at home and help to reinforce the structure you hope to create during summer break. Behavioral systems reward and encourage desired positive behaviors like listening, sharing and patience, while discouraging negative behaviors like noncompliance and tantrums.
Take Care of Yourself
Chances are that even though your child might be getting a break right now, you may not be as fortunate. The disruption in the routine that school provides can be especially hard on working parents, so make sure to plan breaks for yourself to fill your own cup. Schedule playdates with friends who have children so you can have some grown up conversations, hire a babysitter for date night with your partner and try to get enough sleep and hydration so you’re feeling refreshed to tackle summer activities.
Encourage Summertime Learning
Who says the learning has to stop just because school is out? Summer is a great time for kids to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and experience it in real life. This can mean a trip to the zoo, time spent at the library reading new books or even planning a family vacation around a geographical destination your child studied during the past school year.
Give it Time
Even the best laid plans can go awry, so try to extend patience to yourself and your family while making this big adjustment. While the first few days or even weeks may be a struggle, if you can give yourself (and your kids) some grace, the dog days of summer will get easier and the whole family will enjoy their new routine in no time.
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