Monday, June 5, 2017

The Transition from School to Summer

As we all prepare for the end of another school year, let's not forget that the transition into summer can be difficult for young children. It is important to think about the following tips to build a successful transition into the summer months. 

Stick to a Schedule
All the hustle and bustle of end-of-year parties and activities can make your child overtired and overstimulated. Keep their bedtime steady so they are not heading to school exhausted, and do not be afraid to turn down an invitation. Set a limit for how many events you are willing to do each week. Keeping to your regular schedule will help reduce tantrums and overtired outbursts.

Maintain Friendships
Summer vacation is a great time to create family memories, but your child may be worried about not seeing the friends they have made at school. Your child will appreciate it if you can arrange for them to have some play dates.

Summer also provides an opportunity to make some new friends. You may have enrolled your child in a camp to encourage these social interactions, but keep in mind that it is like starting school all over again. Make sure to tour the camp during an open house before school ends. Meet a few of the counselors and children who will be attending so your child will recognize friendly faces. If that is not possible, sit with your child and look at pictures of the grounds and staff on the camp website.

Think About Your Language
It is exciting and fun to look forward to what is next for your child, whether that is kindergarten or first grade. However, talking about a new school year could make create some anxiety and uneasiness. It is months away, so slow down the talk about how they are going to be a "big first-grader." If they tell you they are nervous about next year, don't brush it off by saying, "You'll be fine!" Instead, listen to their feelings and remind them of other new situations in which they were anxious and how they handled it. 

Inspire Education
Before school ends, ask your child about their favorite classroom activities. Think about ways you can re-create them at home. Engage your child in what they are interested in. Involve them in active play and learning. This is the best way to inspire what they have been learning about all year.

Post by Isa Salvador, LCSW, IMH-E III, CCYT