ONE MORE DAY! Seriously, my kids have been counting down the days for the past month – every morning, they get up and check the calendar. Then, I can hear their yells ringing throughout the house.
Summertime is our house can be a bit crazy:
- We educate our boys at home during the summer
- We take family vacations
- We say goodbye to our exchange students and prepare for new ones
- We totally overhaul the dressers and closets – out with the old and in with the new.
- Since my husband is a teacher, he is home – so we usually do repairs and such to the house
- We have baseball camp
- Football practice starts
How do you get your kids ready for summer break? Try some of these suggestions and see if this summer runs a little more smoothly.
1. Start a “summer kick-off” calendar at home. Remember Advent calendars that are used to help children know how when Christmas is coming? It’s the same idea. You can also use the same type of calendar during the summer to help children prepare to head back to school when summer is over.
2. Your child may be apprehensive about leaving their friends and not being able to see them for the entire summer. One way to alleviate this stress is to make acquaintances with the parents of your children’s friends. Exchange telephone numbers and plan to meet for play days every so often during the school break.
3. Talk to and listen to your child about the various changes that will take place. It is also important to make sure your child knows the changes are temporary. While summer break may seem like a long time, before they know it, they will have to head back to school.
4. Rather than throw structure out the window when the last day of school is over, it is important to maintain it. Some children have difficulties with sudden changes, so it may help them to get up at the same time for the first couple of weeks and then slowly allow them to sleep in. You may also want to plan to eat around the same time your child ate at school. One benefit of maintaining some sense of structure is that it will make getting them ready to go back to school much easier.
5. Plan a number of activities for the summer so the children have something to look forward too, much the way they would school holidays. Discuss ideas of activities you can do as a family and be sure to get the children’s input. The activities could be something as simple as crafts day once a week and cook with Mom day or as elaborate as specific day trips to the local zoo, an amusement park or a day at the beach. The idea is to give your children something to look forward to doing.
6. Before school is out, try to set aside some time to talk with your child’s teacher. Ask them if there are any areas your child is weak and what types of fun activities you can do to help reinforce what they struggled to learn. Remember, however, you want to keep the activities fun so your child doesn’t feel like they are still in school.
7. Plan a family vacation. Perhaps your family doesn’t usually take long, expensive vacations every year. If you can come up with something specific to do each day during family vacation, it can mean as much, if not more, to your children than a trip to Disney World.
8. Make sure you have a good supply of bug repellant and sun screen if you plan on spending time outdoors. You want to also have a well-stocked first aid kit available for the bumps, bruises and scraped knees that are sure to happen. It may be a good idea to begin teaching your children basic first aid skills.
Summer will be here before you know it. The best way to get your kids ready for summer break is to begin talking to them now and often until break actually starts. You can also use some of these other ideas to help them prepare.