Right about now, midway through summer, the euphoria of just a few weeks past is fading fast. The promise of long, lazy days that your child with LD was relishing is turning into your worst nightmare—long, lazy days, with no end in sight. It’s not too late to get your couch potato moving. Here are some guidelines to help make the rest of summer a positive experience for everyone:
- Reframe the experience. Think of summer vacation as a time to relax and regroup. Some students benefit from light academic reinforcement, but avoid replacing downtime with an intensive study regime. Look for activities that offer the opportunity for physical and emotional relaxation. Use the free time to support your child’s interests, build self-esteem, and reinforce special contributions.
- Choose activities that promote his strengths. Don’t give a long book list to a child who struggles with reading, and don’t plan a 30-stop family tour for a child who dislikes transitions. But if music, art, soccer, or stargazing is his thing, find a class or group of likeminded kids to encourage his interest. Nurturing his talents is likely to pay off with improved self-esteem that may carry into the next school year.
- Be spontaneous. Fill your backpacks with a change of clothes, sunscreen, car games, DVDs, and snacks, and take a short overnight or weekend road trip to a nearby lake, hiking trail, sports arena, or amusement park. Be a sport, and let your child pick the venue, or surprise her with someplace you know she wants to go. That’s what summer memories are made of.
- Look for specialized programs. It’s not too late. Summer experiences range from the incredibly positive to the astonishingly negative. Make sure that you choose as carefully as you would any enrichment activity.
- Play, play, play. Parents of children with LD often forget that kids still need to chase fireflies, build sandcastles, watch TV, and sometimes just sleep until noon. Get creative. Think of things to do in your own backyard (literally and figuratively). Challenge your kids to put on a play, paint a mural, make a video.
Keep in mind that your child is likely to do better in the fall if his summer is filled with fun. And you can help make that happen with a little effort. Both of you will be the beneficiaries.
If your summer plans include an extensive trip, check out 10 Tips for Summer Trips.
Send us a comment with your ideas for turning summer doldrums into summer fun.