Summer is finally here and parents and children are all looking forward to some time to relax and recharge after a school year like no other. Children with learning disabilities and/or ADHD have had an especially challenging time with remote learning and this summer vacation is the perfect time to take advantage of the time off and help kids stay on track with their learning and support their need for structure, while still having fun. This month we offer a few strategies to help kids and parents succeed and relax this summer.
• Keep a reasonable schedule – Children with ADHD benefit from predictable routines and it is possible to do this even in the summertime. Adhering to regular bedtimes and mealtimes is one way to stick to a routine. You may also want to plan certain weekly activities that always happen on a specific day of the week, such as family game nights or hiking or beach days.
• Create Summer Goals– Talk with your kids about activities they would like to do over the summer and come up with a goal that they can track and feel a sense of accomplishment. For example, learning a new song on their instrument, reading a set number of books about a favorite subject or by a favorite author, or planting a vegetable garden for harvesting.
• Set them up for success– Preparing your children for upcoming activities supports their need for predictability. Let them know the night before you are going on an outing what they can expect and help them to visualize what the day will look like. For example, if you are heading to the beach involve them in preparing what they will need such as setting out snacks, sunscreen, towels, toys, etc.
The “summer slide” is known as the time during summer break when children tend to lose some academic skills from the previous school year. This year there is an added “COVID slide” that kids are dealing with from a very different learning environment over the last few months. There are many ways to support learning over the summer with activities that are fun and academically supportive as well.
• Ask your child’s teacher for recommendations– Ask if there are specific workbooks that would be helpful, reading lists she or he would recommend, or whether there any online activities they know of to help support specific skills your child could benefit from additional practice.
• Prioritize time outdoors – Keeping active and having fun outdoors is so beneficial to your child’s well-being, especially after they have had to spend so much time learning through screen time.
• Engage in some academics regularly – There are a few rules of thumb when it comes to time spent on academics on a daily basis over summer break. For younger children, 15-20 minutes each day of reading, math, or writing is recommended. For older children, 20-30 minutes each day is recommended.
• Stay connected with friends and relatives – It is important for children to exercise their social skills by safely spending time with friends and family. Depending on your comfort level, consider social distance outings to hike, go strawberry picking, visit the beach, etc.
Consider an organizational/ executive functioning coach or tutor– If you feel your child has fallen behind in certain skills over this past school year, you may want to hire a coach to help support such skills as planning and preparation, organization, time-management, and goal setting. Contact us at PNC to schedule a consultation with our Executive Functioning Coach, Gianna Alden.
Here are a few links to articles with more ideas for ways you and your family can stay on track for a successful and relaxing summer break.
Summer and ADHD: A Survival Guide
Summer Activities for Kids with Learning Disorders
How to Balance Fun and Learning for Worn Out Kids
Summer in the Time of Coronavirus: At-home Activities for Kids with ADHD
Scholastic Learn at Home: Keep your Kids Reading, Thinking and Growing all Summer Long
Ten Award-Winning Children’s Museums Offering Online Programs