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Summer is just a few weeks away, which means it’s time for family vacations, camp, playdates, and lots of fun. But as exciting as this time is for kids, it’s not always an easy for transition for them—or their families. Parents worry about keeping their kids occupied, maintaining learning, and more.
Here are five ways to ensure a (mostly) smooth transition from school to summer vacation.
Make a summer to-do list
Each summer many families have around eight or more weeks of time to fill. While parents get to decide a large portion of their children’s activities, it’s good to let your kids make a few decisions about how they spend their time. One great way to let kids have a say in what they do is by having them write a summer to-do list. Before summer starts, have your kids write down (or dictate to you) at least five things they want to do this summer. Take a look at the list(s) and see if you can make some of their wishes happen!
Stick to your routines
You’ve likely worked hard to establish routines and rules throughout the school year, so just because the kids aren’t in school, that doesn’t mean these routines should change, at least drastically. Sleeping schedules and evening routines can be shifted a bit—mostly for older kids—but if they’re completely thrown out the window, you’ll have a hard time transitioning back to the school-year schedule when fall rolls around.
Stay in touch with school friends
Young children become very attached to some of their friends and will be sad if they don’t get to see them for a couple months. Keep in touch with the other parents and set up a few play dates. Playing together helps children learn communication, taking turns, negotiation, compromise, taking turns, and imaginative play, so the play dates will strengthen their mental and social skills, too!
Don’t stop learning
Ask your child’s teacher if they have any recommendations for summer learning activities to help them maintain and practice skills that will help them in the next school year. You can also visit museums or other place that will stimulate learning or creativity. And keep reading to them!
Watch your words about the upcoming school year
Remember that young kids have a tenuous grasp on time, so any talk of the upcoming school year might make them uneasy. If your kids are nervous about school, don’t brush off their fears; instead, remind them of previous instances in which they were scared and how they handled it. Or, tell them about a time that you were nervous when you were a kid and how you overcame your fears. Kids are often surprised to know their parents were anything other than the confident, capable grown-ups they are now!