Getting Ready for Summer Break
1. Prepare Kids – Prepare children for the summer break while they are still in school. Classrooms often have a countdown to summer, but including one in the home also is helpful. Discuss summer break with children including when they will return to school and what they will do over the break. Read books about vacation, summer, and school breaks.
2. Make Cards – If children are concerned about not seeing their friends and teacher, have them create cards for everyone. The cards can have memories from the school year or a simple message, “Have a nice summer. See you in August.” Cards are a great way for children to share their feelings and learn about giving.
3. Don’t Forget School – Arrange summer play dates with classmates before school ends so children know they will see their friends soon. Use the class picture as a way to discuss and remember classmates, or make a book about the past year, “Bobby’s Year in First Grade.”
4. Maintain Structure – The school day provides a significant amount of structure for children. A transition from a full day of planned activities to one with little structure can be very difficult for children. Have a routine so children have consistency in their lives. Set times for waking up, going to bed, eating, and other activities so children know what to expect during the day. If children have a routine with different activities on different days of the week such as swimming lessons Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and library time on Tuesdays, make a calendar showing these activities with words or pictures so children see the day’s activities. Some children may benefit from a very structured schedule. If children use a picture schedule at school, ask their teacher how to implement it at home. Besides including structured activities, remember a schedule can include periods of choice and free play while still providing support and structure.
5. Keep Activities Handy – Keep materials for art activities (paper, paints, buttons, glue, magazines)handy. Art activities develop fine motor skills and encourage creativity. Cooking lunch or snacks is a fun activity for children and it encourages reading, basic math (fractions, counting), and turn taking.
6. Start Summer-Long Responsibilities – Give children activities for the summer. Gardening activities such as a small plot in the family garden or an indoor herb garden are a great opportunity for children to watch plants grow, care for them, and see the fruits of their labor. If children are not interested in gardening, give them responsibilities with the family pet (brushing, feeding, walking) or another household activity. These activities can be expanded upon by reading about the topic or attending events involving the topic such as a local flower show or dog show.
7. Ask the Teacher – If you have concerns about a child’s transition from school to summer, ask their teacher for suggestions. The teacher may have specific ideas for your child’s needs or they may know about community activities your child would enjoy. They also can provide ways to help your son or daughter prepare for the next school year.