5 Simplified Tips To Summer Work Success
By: Diana Chase, M.S.
One of the most frequently asked questions at the end of the school year is, “What can I do to get my child to do some work over the summer so they maintain skills?” Perhaps your child doesn’t qualify for ESY. Or, perhaps they do, and you just want to do a little more than that. Or, maybe, you just want to provide some structure and consistency to the summer months, to make August/September a little less of a transition. No matter the reason, getting your child to (gulp), work, during the summer can be quite the undertaking!
Below are 5 ideas that will not only increase your child’s motivation to do that 4-letter-word (work!) over the summer but, will, hopefully, make it a little less painful for you too!
5 Simplified Tips To Summer Work Success;
1. Start RIGHT AWAY! Ok, maybe not the FIRST day of summer break, but don’t wait until two weeks into the summer to try to get your child to start summer work. By starting a routine the first week of summer break, you set the stage and expectations for the rest of the summer. Yes, kids need a break to recharge, but they are still in the “swing of things” from the school year, so piggy-back off of that and set up what your routine will look like immediately. In fact, as the school year winds down, talk to your child about what this “work” will look like over the summer. Build a plan together and get started week one of summer break.
2. Be Consistent! Do whatever you can to keep this routine the entire summer. Sure, you may have a vacation or two planned, and that’s okay to take that time off. (Maybe play some education games while away!?) But when you set-up the routine and schedule, pick a day(s)/time(s) that will be the least interrupted from other summer fun activities. Maybe it’s the first thing in the morning before the day gets started, or maybe it’s after lunch on Wednesdays. Whenever it is, stick to this time and schedule other appointments, play-dates, and get-together around this time.
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3. Provide Reminders! Throughout the week, and even the day of the “work session,” remind your child of what they’re expected to do. Just a casual, “and tomorrow we’ll do our work and then ____” is fine. Or, if your child does better with more concrete reminders, maybe buy a special timer, and set it to go off an hour or two before the work session begins. These reminders will result in less fighting when the time comes because your child knows what is coming and won’t be surprised that they need to stop what they’re doing and complete some work.
4. Location, Location, Location! Pick a location and stick with it! You can go to the library, set up a desk and “school” area in your house, or even work outside at a picnic table. Walk around the house or talk about other ideas with your child and decide together what will be best. But picking somewhere special to work, and if you allow your child to participate in that decision, it will be both more fun and more motivating.
5. Rewards (may be) Required! Don’t hesitate to make this as fun as possible and set up some type of reward system. It doesn’t have to be crazy or cost a lot of money – just has to be motivating to your child! Maybe it’s a simple as going out to a picnic lunch or a favorite lunch spot after their work is done, or maybe it’s earning stars (or points or smiley faces) for each work session, and those add up to a special activity or dinner treat, but make it fun! After all, it is summer, and while it’s so important to maintain skills learned throughout the year, kids also deserve to be kids, so there’s nothing wrong with throwing in a little extra motivation. And, let’s be honest, you deserve the reward, too!
Finding a balance between doing work over the summer, and also letting kids be kids, is so important, yet so challenging. These little tips will help make the idea of “summer work” a little less cumbersome, daunting and overwhelming for both you and your child. Try to make it a game and have fun with it and you and your child won’t even realize how much work you’ll actually end up doing over the summer…and how much you’ll both end up learning!
As a parent or educator, what fun games have you used for summer learning? Please share in the comments below!
This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2016 at 3:40 am and is filed under Summer Learning and tagged as Diana Chase, Summer Education. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.