The end of the school year can stir up a wide range of emotions for students. Some kids can’t wait for summer vacation to start, while others find it hard to transition from going to school every day to being at home or a new camp. The change in routine can even be overwhelming for some. An inclusion teacher from Ravenswood Elementary, Brittany Luxton, remarks, “School is a place where students have lost teeth, skinned knees, conquered fears, and learned about themselves. A place where they have learned to support others and gained their trust in the same manner, knowing that we are all here to learn and grow. All of these things have been done with the same group of friends and adults for 10 months.”
School becomes a second home for students and although summer can be full of fun, new activities, we should remember to be understanding at this time of year if students are acting out or behaving differently. You might find it helpful to follow some of these tips to ease the summer transition.
- Let kids help plan part of the summer. Ask kids to create a list of 5 things they would like to do over the summer and help them accomplish the list if the requests are reasonable. Combine the lists of mom and dad and siblings to make a family fun summer.
- Try to keep some routines, such as bedtime or eating Sunday dinners as a family. This can help make the summer predictable and ease the transition when it is time to go back to school. Of course adjusting bed times a little later to hang out with friends or watch a movie makes summer, well summer, but don’t throw out the routines all together. After all, kids need that predictability, otherwise you could have a serious tantrum on your hands.
- Make those summer reading lists fun. Provide incentives for each book students finish over the summer. Maybe trips to the ice cream shop, movie tickets, or a special treat you and your child decide upon together.
- Keep the playdates going over the summer. Some kids really miss the friends they have seen five days a week during the school year. Make an effort to stay in touch over the summer with a few scheduled playdates. Playing with familiar faces can be helpful for students who struggle socially.
- Visit museums and plan some field trips with friends. Getting out and experiencing new things can spark new interests, challenge old ideas, and keep us curious. Watch The History Channel or play scrabble to keep sharp over the summer.