on June 23, 2019 parenting summer reading

Don’t Let Summer Pass You By

As parents, getting through to the end of the school year can be trying. Winter sports seasons are ending, spring sports are beginning. There are concerts, performances, and parties to attend. There is an abundance of end-of-year projects. But you do it, and you get through it. Summer and the calm set in. Outdoor activities and late sunset now take us past bed time. We sleep in. We eat meals at different times, perhaps eating whatever the children please. We have kids in and out of house, some belong to us, some do not. We go on vacations. And just as we fully embrace the gentle pace of summer, we have to face the reality of school starting again. Stores puts out the supplies and the school emails begin.  We know what is coming. The business that comes with the end of the year can be unparalleled to the business of the fall. And, re-entry can be hard.

Here are some tips to ease into the school year:
  • Read those school emails when they come! Order the books and supplies; then set them aside. They will then be there when you need them. Make sure to complete school forms!
  • Encourage your son to begin his summer reading by end of July. Perhaps suggest an audio book, or you can take turns reading aloud if that is better for your son’s learning style. Ask questions at dinner about that book, suggest your son take notes along the way. (See this link for some tips to strengthen reading comprehension, https://www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/reading-resources/developing-reading-skills/improve-reading-comprehension.html)
  • Ugh, the task of reducing screen time! We know that screen time impacts our kids’ moods and can impact school performance. Summer has allowed for more freedom with devices, try to take some time rein it back in! Set up some designated times and boundaries for use that will be similar to the school year. (See this link for the screen time recommendations, https://healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Where-We-Stand-TV-Viewing-Time.aspx)
  • Does your son have summer school work? Have him designate reasonable chunks of time to do school work each day. Have him complete his work in the same space where he will be doing homework in the fall. Get that work space primed and ready! (See this link for workspace tips, https://www.parents.com/kids/education/back-to-school/how-to-create-homework-hq/)
  • About two weeks before school starts, start moving toward a school schedule. When are your typical meal times, bed times? Although kids often balk at sleep, it is an important part of keeping them healthy and productive. Start inching that bed time back in 15- or 30-minute increments until you get back to school bed time. Try to do the same thing with a wake-up time as well! (See link for recommended sleep for children and teens, https://sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/how-much-sleep-do-babies-and-kids-need)
  • Highlight summer fun: check off bucket list items, make a memory book, create a journal. Begin thinking about an upcoming break or next summer.
  • Remember your son’s last school year highlights and accomplishments! Encourage him to set new goals for the school year. Remind him of his supports and accommodations.
  • Highlight the fun of upcoming school year, such as exciting field trips and activities, and reconnecting with friends.
  • If you son is going to a new school this year, check out the location and drive the route. Familiarizing your son with where he will be spending much of his time can reduce anxiety levels he may have about the change.
  • Try to keep the last days of summer calm. Schedule appointments well in advance so the days before school begins are less hectic. Plan a fun last day!

And remember: re-entry is tough! It isn’t tough because you aren’t trying all the right things, it is tough in its nature.  Look at this list and see what you can reasonably do! Discuss these points with your son and get his input. Soon enough, it will be the end of another school year.

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Sarah Spannagel, Clinical Psychologist at University School

Dr. Spannagel is a clinical Psychologist at University Hospitals and at University School. She specializes in working with children presenting Autism Spectrum Disorders and a variety of developmental, learning, social, and emotional problems.