Survive AND Thrive the Transition Into Summer by Rachel Millsop, LAPC

Two and a half months; this statement of the period of time during summer when children are out of school often elicits a myriad of different emotions for both children and parents alike.
 
Most children look forward to the release of the pressure gauge of school and the array of fun-filled activities to ensue. Less structure and more free time with your child can be an exciting opportunity to connect in new ways, although the adjustment to this transition can be difficult for parents to navigate.
 
We want our children to continue to learn, grow, and thrive at their pace during the summer months and we do the best we can with the tools we know. Each summer provides a new opportunity to learn and grow alongside your child, exploring and experimenting with new ‘tools’ for your toolbox to add ease.
Below are a few tips to start the summer transition smoothly:
 
Create your structure:
Children need structure and boundaries, and as a parent this is one of the most important ways you show love to your child. A break from the regimented school structure can be regulating for you and your child, while providing a basic, flexible schedule can help keep you and your child grounded and organized through the summer months.
 
Sit down with your child with a calendar, let him/her decorate and personalize the calendar while together you come up with the basic structure of a day/week. With this activity be aware of your child’s developmental level and adjust how much input you ask of him/her.
Use technology to work with your child. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kids-calendar/id469019071?mt=8
 
Brainstorm ‘Activity Jar’:
With ample free time parents often hear the dreaded five-letter word: BORED.
Tackle the bored-monster before it rears its head by brainstorming activity ideas with your child.

  1. Make a list of: Indoor activities, outdoor activities, community outings, things to do with a friend, and technology-free.
  2. Put it up on the fridge for a week so if other ideas emerge you can add them.
  3. Use popsicle sticks and write one idea on each stick.
  4. Place the sticks in a designated jar or cup (have your kids help you come up with a name i.e. “FUN jar”) in a central place in your house.

If the five-letter word shows up during the summer, you and your kids have a way to kick it to the curb.
 
Sibling relationships:
With more time together, summer is naturally a time for kids to learn and explore how to navigate needs between siblings. An opportunity arises to help each child connect to their needs and learn the skills necessary in navigating conflict resolution.

Learning more about your role in helping your child navigate sibling relationships can enable you to support his/her continued growth. Learn more at https://www.positivediscipline.com/

Self-care:
Identifying self-nourishing activities and creating time for you to recharge is essential to your capacity to to be present and meet the needs of your child.

  1. Find at least 5 minutes each day to designate for your self-nourishing practice (yes, it is a practice).
  2. If you notice you are stressed, worried, or anxious about the upcoming summer months, seek support. As children are often very perceptive and respond to the emotions around them, it benefits both you and your child to have support moving through this transition. 
  3. Be compassionate. Repeat to yourself  “I am doing the best I can with what I have. I am enough.”

Wishing you and your family wellness and ease!