As the song says, “Summertime and the living is easy!” Families everywhere breathe a sigh of relief when school ends. This may be especially true when a child struggles with attention concerns that interfere with school success.
As summer break settles in for real with Fourth of July celebrations and the joy of summer activities, it may be a good time to think about how any family can use summer to help children develop lifelong skills and habits. Take a few minutes and list a few things that would make a difference for your child and your family. Prioritize the list and work on a few this summer.
Families have more time to experience things together during the summer. This is a good time for learning something new and having enough time to practice it and experience success. The best learning experiences involve positive attention. It really works well if the new opportunities are age/developmentally appropriate. Try to make a game of creating new systems that will serve your child well in life. Teach them why it is an important skill, model it and then participate with them (guided practice) in performing the skill. Gradually let them take over more of the task until it is their own and offer encouragement throughout the process.
Maybe your family would function better if school age children were better able to get to bed and get up more independently. Summer is a good time to practice this. As the school year approaches, the going to bed and getting up times can be adjusted in 15-minute increments until the schedule is set for school days. Try to have it working about a week before school starts.
Summer is also a great time for practicing routines and schedules. Again, make them fun, but help everyone have a schedule. Encourage everyone to read every day as part of the daily routine in addition to chores, fun and values building experiences. Use a chore or behavior chart to keep track of progress and consistently reward the improvements your child demonstrates.
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