As the school year draws to a close, you and your family probably view summer break as a well-deserved reprieve. The challenge lies in shifting gears to a different routine and a schedule that may change as often as every week, depending on the summer plans you've made for your child. Read on for practical tips that can help any family make a smooth transition to summer!
- Review the summer plans you've made to date. Where there are gaps, brainstorm ways to address them, such as parents rotating days off work to stay home with younger kids on unscheduled days.
- Post the family's summer schedule. Mark activities (day camp, vacations, your teenager's work schedule, etc.) on a "family size" calendar posted in a central location. Be sure to note blocks of unscheduled time as well; that way, you can anticipate free time to use as you wish - even if it's just to enjoy a break in the action.
- Be prepared to be spontaneous. Keep a running list of places and people to visit when time permits and the mood strikes. Summer - free from homework and tutors - is a good time to stop by the science museum, bike trail, or concert-in-the-park you can't seem to get to during the school year.
- Revamp - but don't eliminate - your child's daily routine. A daily routine gives most kids with learning or attention problems a sense of structure and security. While certain tasks (like doing homework) can be dropped during the summer, new ones (like packing for daily swim lessons) may be added. For fun, you might loosen up on certain chores during the summer, like designating every Friday as "Don't make the bed" day!
- Ask other people (spouse, family members, and neighbors) for help shuttling kids to activities and supervising them on their "days off." Trade carpooling and kid-watching duties with other parents in your neighborhood.
- Don't succumb to summer stress! There is bound to be some bedlam and boredom in any household during the summer. When stress strikes, try to shrug it off and find humor in the situation.