School to Summer-How to Deal with the New Transitions
We are in the month of June (finally!) and now all we can think about is summer. Summer is such a wonderful time, especially when you are a child. Summer is the time when kids play outside, go to the beach, explore nature, and experience summer camp. All of these enjoyable times can still generate difficulties for children, especially considering that summer is associated with transitions and changes in their regular routine.
Transitions can be difficult for all children, no matter the age, diagnosis, or period in their life. Transitions can cause separation anxiety, outbursts, violent behaviors, or excessive crying. Despite knowing that your child might enjoy his or her summer, it may be difficult for him or her to get accustomed to a new place and a new routine. Therefore, we wrote up a few different ways to assist during these summer changes.
1. Have a proper goodbye from school. Make sure you discuss with your child what it means to end school. Explain that your child will not be seeing his or her teacher over the summer and that he or she will be making new friends at a new and fun place.
2. Openly discuss summer camp and what is expected. We always emphasize that honesty is key. You can discuss that it may be difficult to not see his or her school friends over the summer (if they are unavailable), and it may be difficult to make new friends when camp starts. This honesty will help prepare him or her for camp. Furthermore, it is crucial to discuss how the days will run, including the fun activities he or she will be engaging in during summer camp, who will be picking him/her off/up and how many hours the camp runs (if your child is old enough).
3. Strengthen your child to help him or her deal with any anxieties or fears about the camp. Tell him or her that if they were able to make friends at school, they will be able to do the same in the summer. Build your child’s confidence to help him or her enter the summer camp with a positive attitude.
4. Maintain regular routines. Continue to maintain sleep habits, preparing backpacks and lunches, and regularly scheduled playdates. This will help your child transition back to school as well as not feel isolated or lonely throughout the summer. If your child is staying at home, also try to enforce routines such as a wake-up times, sleep times, and certain activities throughout the day. Routines are crucial, and while summer is a fun period, it can offset your child and therefore this is vital.
5. Behavioral plans- if your child engages in disruptive behaviors such as tantrums, outbursts, violent behaviors, etc. summer can be a difficult time, reinforcing certain behaviors which we want to decrease. Make sure to maintain your behavioral plan, reinforcing only the behaviors we want to increase and ignoring as a means to decrease the unwanted behaviors. Keep this structure to ensure your child does not regress throughout the summer.
We want to wish you all a lovely summer and hope this transition is an easy and positive one!
Please reach out if you are seeking support or assistance on any manner!