Most school districts have or are in the process of finishing up the school year. It is an exciting time with end of the year programs, awards day, graduations and a host of other events. People are anxious to travel on vacation or spend the day by the pool. Others are just looking forward to a little bit of time to just catch their breath. Before we get too far into summer, I want to remind you of three important things to help make things go smooth now and when school starts back in a few months (though none of us are really thinking about that part yet!!).
- IT IS A TRANSITION.
For the last 9 or 10 months, your child has been on a schedule that has allowed them to go to school, learn, complete homework and everything else that goes into a school year. All of the sudden they wake up one morning and it’s summertime, which includes a different schedule and possibly a different amount of engagement and concentration over long periods of time. For many kids, especially those in foster care, transitions and changes can be difficult. Talk with your child both before summer begins and after about the changes that are taking place so they won’t be surprises. As summer progresses do this same thing for upcoming trips or events to help avoid a meltdown. If a child feels he/she are prepared for what is coming, they will be much more likely to actually enjoy it.
- HELP AVOID ACADEMIC LOSS
One of the things teachers fear the worst is that students will forget a lot of what they learned over the summer. It is bound to happen, but there are some things you can do to help your child minimize that loss. (Keep in mind, though, your child has worked hard throughout the year. They deserve some fun too!) It can be as simple as having them recite math facts in the car or having them help you in the kitchen as you prepare dinner. Many of the every day conversations you have with your child can help them remember and learn new things as long as you are intentional with how you lead that conversations. Above all, make sure your child is reading throughout the summer. This is one of the best things they can do. I will be writing a blog in the near future giving you a few more ideas to help with this.
- MAKE MEMORIES WITH YOUR CHILD
For many kids in foster care or who have been adopted, their experiences have been very limited. Help give them a fun summer experience. Create a slip-and-slide in the back yard. Catch lightning bugs one night. Go to the local baseball game and eat a hot dog. Your children don’t need some elaborate, extensive experience. They simply need you to help make little things magical. Many of them are desperate to know that an adult cares about them and is willing to help make their world special. That is one of the best parts about summer!