Woo hoo! School is almost out!
In early June, kids and adults are counting the days to summer vacation. School is so demanding! Not just for kids, but for their parents too. In my day, parents had very little to do with their children’s homework. But today, educators expect parents to be involved and engaged in both coaching children when it comes to homework and making sure that they do it! This can require significant time and effort for Moms and Dads, particularly for the parent that is the designated homework helper. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
So both parents and their children are looking forward to a well-deserved break. As school comes to a close, the release of tension for children is very apparent. They just breathe deeper and much of their school related worries dissipate.
It’s a good time to reflect on the past school year. Why not just throw your books up in the air and celebrate? It’s an excellent moment to look back and reflect on big and small achievements, challenges, and setbacks. What worked for Wendy? What set Sam back? What did your child and you learn this year that might be applied to next September? Did you establish goals in the beginning of this school year with your youngster? Did they meet those goals? It’s also important to remember that the complexity and demand bar is significantly raised up in the 3rd, 7th, 9th, and 11th grades. So homework and study strategies that worked in 8th grade may not be so effective in 9th grade. Indeed, they rarely are.
Establish some academic goals for the summer. Ughh! Why do something like that? Kids can lose ground over summer months. What about developing a reading list for the summer? Make sure that you take the time to discuss your child’s reading with them. What about a regular reading time? Probably the most important skill for children is reading skills, speed, and comprehension.
So what about summer expectations? The first couple of weeks, most children want to stay up later, sleep in, hang around, and play video games until they drop. Perhaps it’s a way of “de-stressing” from 180 days of school. But that gets old quickly. It’s reasonable to make bed times later when school is out and there are more daylight hours. However, structure is still important, especially during the looser days of summer. This is especially important for teens, who might be looking for a free pass. Let out some rope, but not too much. Be even more aware of their comings and goings. Without the demands of school, summer can be a breeding ground for bad choices. Be alert!
Plan summer activities. Camps are expensive, but recreation departments and the YMCA have athletic and artistic programs during the summer that keep kids busy and active. Planned programs give children something to look forward to. It can keep them focused and busy. Too much idleness can result in irritability, boredom, and bad behavior.
Teenagers can pose a challenge for summer family getaways. When our kids were little, they always looked forward to our yearly trips to Cape Cod in Massachusetts. They loved the familiarity of returning to loved beaches and places of play. We liked it too. But when they became teens, these familiar environs were “boring” and honestly, none of us were having much fun. They were grumpy, complaining, and didn’t want to do anything we wanted to do! Reluctantly, we decided to take a vacation from the summer family vacation. It was a good decision. A few years later, they were excited to go with us to these familiar places. Now in their early 30’s, they never miss a trip to Cape Cod with us (especially when we are paying the freight!).
What are your summer plans? How did this school year go for your youngsters?