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5 Tips for a Successful Summer Break

5 Tips for a Successful Summer Break

With summer right around the corner, now is the time to set your family up for success when the school doors close. Planning ahead can reduce stress, align expectations, and make sure that everyone’s needs are met so that summer can be pleasurable for all involved.

Here are 5 tips for a successful summer break:

  1. Gain knowledge of expectations. Set up a family meeting to determine what everyone’s5 Tips for a Successful Summer Break expectations are. To plan ahead can alleviate stress and frustration, but it is essential to make sure that everyone is on board with the summer structure. Have each child identify individual wants and needs. If the child is scheduled for day camp and that is not something that they “want to do” have them also come up with alternative ideas that would make their summer fun (i.e. going to Six Flags, going to the beach, etc.). Also, if the child views day camp as non-preferred, the parent can then share positives about going to camp (i.e. getting to swim, play with friends, engage in sports) to challenge previous negative thinking and facilitate smoother, morning time transitions.
  2. Establish Routines. Arrange for everyone to come together to determine daily structure in the home so that there are no surprises. Calling a family meeting can be helpful to debunk the child’s “lax” expectations for summer vacation and reinstate a more appropriate daily system. If the child wishes to do art all day, or swim, or sleep, the parent can work to structure these unstructured activities to create routine and clear boundaries.
  3. Research activities as a family. Allow your child to collaborate on what activities sound like fun for the family to engage in. Asking for your child’s ideas about weekend plans can help them feel empowered and demonstrate the art of compromise.
  4. Get outside. Summer presents a great opportunity to maximize play-based skills and physical activity. Encourage your child to be outside at least an hour a day to boost their mood, release energy, and provide alternative means for parent-child bonding.
  5. Maintain academic skills. Although summer is a fun time to engage in a plethora of recreational activities, it can also include some reality-based activities. When a child is out of school for several months, it is important that some academic tasks happen regularly to reduce risk for losing skills and to maintain gains. Identify a variety of subjects or tasks for the child to pick from and determine a set frequency of engaging in this activity (i.e. math workbook, reading, writing tasks, etc.).

FOR MORE SUMMER BLOGS, CHECK OUT OUR COMPLETE COLLECTION!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

transition to summer

Transitioning from the School Year to Summer Break

Another school year is coming to a close before we know it. By this time of the academic year, your child has most likely become accustomed to his routine, the structure of the school day, the set-up of the classroom and the schedule of the day from breakfast to bed. Just as the beginning of the year was a hard change, the beginning of summer can bring its own challenges.

While children are excited for the beginning of summer break, many parents experience anxiety. This is because the school year provides nine to ten months of structured activities, allowing your child to build academic skills, executive functioning skills, and social skills. The summer, in turn, provides the perfect time to practice and perfect these skills.  With the proper preparation and planning, the transition to summer can be eased.

Here are a few tips to transition from the busy school days to the relaxing days of summer:

  1. Create a daily schedule: this can be visual or verbal, providing your child with the overview of the day. Thetransitioning to summer daily schedule can include the morning routine, daily activities, camps, a menu for dinner, and the bedtime routine. Providing this schedule helps to mimic the routine that the school day offers, allowing a child to process the idea of consistency. This can also assist in self-regulation and executive functioning skills, including attention, memory and sequencing. Implement the idea of a schedule during the last few weeks of school as to get your child accustomed to it as they separate from the school year.
  2. Plan play dates: Play dates are essential to childhood development. The planning of these social get-togethers can be easier during the school year as parents often see each other during drop-off/pick-up times or during school sponsored events. The planning can seem more daunting over the summer but make sure you keep in contact with the families of your child’s friends. This will allow a child to still feel connected to their school year and help to build excitement for the year to come. In addition, play-dates with same-aged peers allows for sharing of skills learned at school, the peer modeling of skill, and continued practice of social skills.
  3. Organize summer academic activities: The summer is a great time to look into library programs, create summer crafts that work on fine motor and executive functioning skills, and create children’s reading clubs. Just as the academic year is meant for brains to grow and blossom, the summer is an opportunity to build on those skills. Turn math problems into summer themed scavenger hunts, take coloring and writing activities to the sidewalks, read a book about a child experiencing the school year and encourage imaginative thinking, fine motor skills and problem-solving skills.

And remember, have some fun in the sun!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Girl with painted hands

School is Out: Crafts for the Summer!

The weather is warm and children (and teachers) are getting antsy.  This could only mean one thing…SCHOOL IS OUT FOR SUMMER!  Here are some ideas for crafts for the summer that can be created and enjoyed outside.

Beaded Wind Chimes

Supplies:

  • Paper cup
  • Pipe cleaner
  • String or Yarn
  • Big beads
  • Small bells
  • Metal washer
  • Drinking straws
  • Poster paint or acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch

Steps:

1)     Trim a paper cup to a height of approximately 2 to 3 inches.

2)     Punch 4 evenly-spaced holes around the cup’s mouth. Punch a small hole at the center of the paper cup base.

3)     Paint the paper cup with poster paint and make your own designs.  *Use acrylic paint if the surface of your paper cup is glossy or waxy.

4)     Cut 4 equal lengths of string about 12 in. long. Cut a 5th string that is 14 in. long—this will be the pendulum.

5)     Tie a small bell at the end of 4 of the strings.Girl with painted hands

6)     Cut drinking straws into 1-inch long pieces.

7)     String beads and drinking straws through each of the 4 strings. Leave 1.5 to 2 inches at the top of each string.

8)     Attach the beaded strings to the painted paper cup through the punched-out holes.

9)     To make the pendulum:

— Trim a pipe cleaner to 6 in. and make a loop on one end.

— Tie one end of the 5th string through the loop on the pipe cleaner. Attach a metal washer on the other end of the string.

10)  Attach the pendulum by inserting the end of the pipe cleaner through the hole at the center of the paper cup. Pull all the way through, the loop on the pipe cleaner serves as a stopper and as the wind chime’s handle.

11)  Check if the metal button or washer is at the same level as the bells.

12)  Hang outside and let the breeze work its magic!

Paper Plate Frisbees

Supplies:

  • 4 paper plates
  • Markers, crayons, or paint (will need paint brushes)
  • Scissors
  • Clear shipping tape

Steps:

1)     Place both plates right side up, as if you were going to put food on them. Cover them with clear shipping tape, allowing the excess tape to overlap, but do not fold it over.

2)     Use the scissors to cut off the excess around the plate.

3)     Turn the plates upside down and use markers or crayons to decorate as you wish.

4)     Place both plates together so that the decorated sides are facing out. Holding the plates together, cut a circle out of the center of each plate.

5)     Place both plates, decorated side facing up, onto the work surface. Using the clear shipping tape, cover the decorated side, over lapping the center circle. Fold the edges over through the center circle and trim the edges of the outside of the plate.

6)     Place the two plates together, decorative side facing outward, and tape all of the edges together.

Bubble Painting

Supplies:

  • Paint—tempera (liquid or powder)
  • Liquid Dishwashing soap
  • Drinking straw
  • Paper—construction or copy
  • Large shallow dish (2-3)

 

Steps:

1)     Pour a quarter cup liquid dishwashing detergent into a shallow dish. If you use powdered tempera paint, mix a small amount of water with the paint. (If you want to have a variety of colors, use multiple shallow dishes for each color)

2)     Add the paint mixture or liquid tempera to the dishwashing liquid until the color is very dark.

3)     Place one end of a straw into the mixture, and blow until the bubbles are almost flowing over the edge of the dish.

4)     Gently place a piece of paper on top of the bubbles and hold it in place until several bubbles have popped.

5)     Continue this process with different colors, blowing more bubbles as needed.

*This technique is wonderful for making home-made greeting cards!!

Mix together the paint and some washing up liquid in the tray. Add some water until it is runny enough to blow bubbles. Use the drinking straw to blow into the paint to make bubbles.

Gently place the paper on top of the bubbles. When the bubbles pop remove the paper and leave to dry.