Shift Into Summer

By Jenna Prada, M.Ed

Summer is here! After the year we all just had, I know that I’m tempted to let it all go—throw structure out the window, sleep all day and forget that school exists—but I know that’s not what’s best for kids. They need to continue to move toward their goals. Instead, you need to shift thoughtfully into a new routine that allows your kids to find joy while continuing to grow. Here are a few ideas for how that might look at your house.

Keep Goals in Mind

The goals you set for your child during the school year through either the IEP process or informally are still in place over the summer. While I don’t advocate intensive work on everything that makes up the school day, I do encourage you to pick one or two goals that you and your child can engage in together.

In my house, we find balance by choosing one social-emotional goal and one academic goal to work on regularly over the summer. Whatever you do, take note of what seems to work well for your child and what does not; that’s important observational data to have when you begin working with teachers again in the fall.

Reset

Throughout the year we all pick up some positive and some less-than-positive habits. The shift from the school year to the summer lends itself to a soft reset in any way you and your child need it. For instance, I plan to use the summer shift to reintroduce our family’s chore chart again after taking it down before we moved in November. The most helpful reset for your family might also be a dedicated time for you to center yourself each day so that you can be the best parent possible for your child.

Daily Routines

 Some of you will have clear routines set by camps and various activities, but others will have summers with little structure. In either case, set and communicate some daily routines. All children thrive on structure, and students with learning challenges absolutely need it in order to succeed. That said, maintaining structure does not need to exhaust you. Maybe meal time can create touch-points during the day, or perhaps you can give each day of the week a theme. Do something that’s easy for you to maintain, and present it so it’s exciting for your children.

Most important, use the summer to recharge and have fun so that you’re all ready for the new school year.

Jenna Prada, a certified teacher and administrator, is the founder of the Learning Link and the Director of Executive Functioning & Special Education at Private Prep.