5 Ideas for Transitioning Your Child From School to Summer

5 Ideas for Transitioning Your Child From School to Summer

The lazy days of summer are nearly upon us again and many families may feel a sense of excitement at the thought of holiday fun and enjoying a slower pace of life. Yet some parents report feeling a sense of dread at the lack of the predictable structure and routine the school year offers them. In case you fall in the latter group, here are 5 ideas for transitioning to the school-free days of July and August:

  1. Create a Bucket-List:

    School-aged children love to contribute to this type of activity. Creating a bucket-list of activities to do (or sights to explore, activities, foods to try) can be a fun way to plan your summer and serve as a base for strengthening any parent-child relationship. I know of one family who loves chalk-board art and they spend considerable time artfully displaying their family bucket list for each summer. It truly can be a fantastic way to create memories and expose your children to new and enriching opportunities.

  2. Sleep:

    School-aged children still require a solid 10 hours of sleep per day, so aim to keep this part of your child’s routine consistent throughout the months of July and August. Consider keeping the same bedtime cues (i.e. bath, story, snuggle) as your child is used to during the school year so that these powerful signals will still be associated with sleep. It will also set them up for a more successful star to the school year in September.

  3. Prep:

    If your child leans more towards a sensitive temperament, they will benefit from family conversation related to the summer plans and routine. Envisioning this ahead of time and co-creating a plan may help them feel more at ease as they say goodbye to friends and activities that organize how their world is set up. Maybe there are summer camps to be looked forward to, or the annual trip to visit grandma. Whatever it may be, meeting your child’s need for a sense of predictability will go a long way in easing the transition.

  4. Take a Tech Holiday:

    Yes, this may seem crazy in today’s world…but think of the countless benefits for you and your child. We are so reliant upon our technology that we have forgotten how to simply be without it. A tech holiday doesn’t have to mean zero screens for the entire summer, but could be a decision to reduce screen time, or leave screens at home when going out. For one family I have worked with, this meant the children were able to watch their favourite shows on 1 day per week, as opposed to having a daily dose of tv. For another family it could mean, the phones go in the tech bucket for the evening. The key is to have a plan for replacing screen time with something else, such as face to face connection, outdoor activity, reading, bike rides, etc. You know your family best and use this knowledge in your planning ahead.

  5. Be Okay with Boredom:

    This relates to our propensity to engage in technology/social media and live highly structured lives during the school year. We tend to have endless entertainment at our fingertips and this can be a wonderful thing. But when we resist the urge to structure every single hour of the day, and allow our child to feel bored, it creates opportunities for them to begin engaging their creative juices in ways that technology or structured activities can never afford them. Here’s to more fort-building, more game playing and more time for connection with your loved ones.

  6. Wishing you and your family a wonderful summer of 2016!

    Nathalie Scott MSW, RSW, RPt

    Reg. Clinical Social Worker

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