Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Summer "School" (reposted)

There are so many ways to make this an enriching summer for your kids, it's not funny. But you can relax and have fun with it. I have written about this before (see my postings: Summer Play School, 5/11/08; School's Out Soon, What To Do, 5/20/07), that you can use the summer months off from school to help your child learn some things that they didn't get during the normal school year. This can include practice or remedial work in specific school subjects that they didn't do well in (or even moving ahead academically in preparation for the upcoming school year). You can help them learn behavioral skills, like organization, study skills, impulse control, focus and concentration. You can help them improve their social/emotional development, IE. anger management, personal responsibility, empathy, self-esteem, unresolved grief work. And even though these are serious concerns, they (and you) can have fun with it. I develop these types of plans with families that I work with. But you can do it on your own. Get creative. Be patient.

Teenagers can be the most difficult to "trick" into learning something you want them to learn. It is best to collaborate with them on their personal growth "project." They'll appreciate you respecting their input, and be less inclined to fight you on it. In fact, you can let them take the lead, after you agree on the goals. This also gives you an opportunity to improve communication between you two, without the additional stress of school (IE. school expectations and responsibilities). Pre-teens and younger children can be easier, as "play" is a primary mode of functioning for them. You will be more effective gaining their participation if it's in play mode. For young and old children, rewards that are meaningful TO THEM will facilitate your success.

By the end of the summer, be sure to acknowledge your child's efforts, emphasizing the progress they've made. Celebrate them. Then develop the goals, plans and rewards for the upcoming school year. The time and energy that you put into it beforehand will help minimize the frustrations that you both experience during the year. The summer break should be a time away from the demands of school for you and your child. It is also an opportunity for you both.

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