Make Your Summer A Success Avoiding Stress The transition from school to the unstructured days of summer can be stressful. It is a known fact that kids thrive on structure. Incorporating a schedule during the summer months allows you to enjoy your time together as a family and be more productive. The sooner that a summer schedule is considered, the sooner that everyone will start to plan – or at least become accustomed to the idea. Objectives Prepare Books Make a Schedule Plan Regular Activities Set Expectations Activities to Keep Child Engaged Prevent Brain Drain Prepare Research camps and activities for your children in the spring and begin to formulate your plan. Check your local parks and recreation office. Most cities have loads of activities during the summer months. Check with your local library. Ask about Extended School Year (ESY) programs or talk with your child’s teacher about his or her suggestions. It is also a good idea to involve your child in the planning if possible by talking about summer break, and reading books about summer. Prepare with Books Books are helpful tools in educating your child about the summer transition and preparing for upcoming events. For younger children, picture books help illustrate plans for the summer. For older children, read books about summer and summer activities. Picture Books The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague Go Go America by Dan Yaccarino Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg A Couple of Boys Have The Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee To Be Like the Sun By Susan Marie Swanson Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett Reading Books The Aurora County All Stars by Deborah Wiles The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower by Lisa Graff Violet Bing and the Grand House by Jennifer Paros Greetings from Nowhere by Barbara O’Connor Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford Make a Schedule To help create a routine, develop a daily visual schedule to support summer-long responsibilities (e.g. watering plants) and activities. Set times for these activities to occur. If your child responds better to visual information, you can use photos or drawings to come up with a schedule, reminders or rules. Post your schedule in a prominent location. Regular Activities You want to identify the activities that happen the same way, each day (e.g. every morning we get ready for our day by doing…) You can also repeat field trips each week (e.g. every Tuesday we go to swimming lessons) Create a sense of familiarity by selecting activities that require similar skills, but happen in different locations (e.g. we are going to practice our table manners at home, at Uncle Bob’s house and at Chili’s) Set Expectations Talk with your child about what they will do, how long they’ll do it, how they will know when they are finished. What will happen once the activity is completed. Your child should be able to see and study the summer schedule. Plan for Unexpected Changes You want to let your child know that there will be instances when there will be changes in the schedule. Talk with him or her about the circumstances that might impact your plans. For instance, “On Friday, you see on the schedule we plan to go to the beach. One thing that might cause us to change our plans is rain. If it rains on Friday, we may want to go to the movies instead.” Activities Get them involved in an activity or sport. Baseball, karate lessons, or whatever they like to do. Don’t overlook volunteer opportunities in the community, there are lots of organizations out there that could really use a little help here and there over the summer. Give them chores. Younger kids can help set the table for dinner, young adults can take out the trash or weed the garden. Chores are a great way to teach responsibility and respect. Activities Cooking and baking is a great way to introduce measurements and encourage children to try new foods. Kids are more likely to eat what they cook. Let summer break be a time for learning home economics by involving them in your everyday duties. Grocery shopping can become a classroom full of mathematics. Plan play dates with other kids. Prevent Brain Drain Kids seem to forget much of what was just taught to them the year before in school. Why not take some time each day to study up on what they will be learning in the next year. Or take some time to go over what they have already learned. Continue reading with your children at least 30 min. a night. Television Don’t let them veg out in front of the TV all summer. Use the parental controls on the TV which most cable and satellite companies provide as a part of their service. This includes the ability to control the number of hours your child can watch per day and what they watch. Encourage your child to watch the discovery channel and history channel. Work Books Have your child complete a page of math review (for example) every day. Try trading pages from the workbook (or comparable practice available online) for extra TV or video game time. Forcing your child to use those skills will help prevent him or her from losing them, and even a little bit of DAILY practice can be very effective. www.theteachersguide.com free printable worksheets Library Take your children to the library. Nothing helps kids improve their reading like practice, and during the summer they have tons of time to read. APPS The Ruckus Reader: The latest from Ruckus Media Group, Ruckus Reader is the first library of mobile apps to deliver learning assessment and interactive educational content seamlessly, turning screen time into valuable learning time. Every week the parent is email a progress report. Barefoot World Atlas: This is an interactive 3D globe for iPad that invites children to explore the regions and countries of the world. Baseball Mc Graw-Hill 1-6 Facts: Hooks kids by using baseball to practice math facts. Math Girl Addition House Ready to Print: Help support kids with prewriting skills www.commonsensemedia.org This site is a great tool for finding quality resources.