The school year is coming to an end for schools across the country. It can be a happy time for teachers, but a daunting time for parents. Things become more disorganized and schedules go haywire. If parents become frazzled as their routines change, can you imagine what kids go through?
While the first few days of summer vacation are fun and exciting, reality sets in pretty quickly. Tantrums kick in, boredom is looming, and bedtimes and daily routines go out the window. Kids often lash out because their daily expectations–which were once clear—get muddy. Days are unpredictable. To provide some stability during the summer, there are a few things you can do to keep a schedule, provide executive functioning skills, and create a happy(er) summer!
Summer Transition Tips
Use pocket calendars: Find monthly-at-a-glance pocket calendars. Give your child one and every Sunday night, sit together and go over the schedule for the upcoming week. Older kids can practice handwriting as they fill in their activities. Younger kids can draw a picture to represent the activity. They can carry their schedules with them in bags or backpacks to stay on track. It provides grounding and helps them develop organization skills.
Get them involved: Instead of telling them what is going to happen, ask them questions. “Do you remember what we are doing tomorrow?”, “What time do we need to be at camp on Tuesday?” By giving them input and oversight into the schedule, they have ownership. They are more apt to remember, feel engaged, and be more in control of their daily schedules.
Create daily checklists: Instead of weekly chore charts, make responsibilities bite sized. Grab some small dry-erase boards and place them around the house, such as in bathroom, on the back of a bedroom door, in the kitchen, and in the playroom. Use them to show what kids need to do before breakfast, right after dinner, or before bedtime. It keeps them on schedule without feeling overwhelmed.
Set weekly goals. Set one, two, or three bigger goals for the week that kids can work toward. Perhaps it is a reading goal, or a project around the house, like helping in the garden or organizing the playroom. At the end of the week, provide compensation, or take them out for a pre-planned treat, like ice cream or the movies. Ask them what goals they want to achieve for the week and/or what they want to earn. Either way, parents get help around the house, kids continue to work on focus and long-term memory, and keeps everyone on point this summer!
Summer can be overwhelming, but with these small additions to your families’ routine, there might be more time for summer smiles and sprinkler runs in the sun!