We recently discussed creating a parent tip list to successfully navigate the unique rigors of summer break. Involving the special needs student in planning her summer of fun could build “buy-in” and yield some interesting ideas. Consider some of these additions to your parent guide:
Tips to Help Kids with Learning and/or Attention Problems:
1. Revamp — but don’t eliminate — your child’s daily routine. A daily routine provides a sense of structure and security. While certain tasks (like doing homework) may be dropped during the summer, new ones (like packing for daily swim lessons) may be added. Create a visual organizer to enable the young vacationer to track his activities throughout the day.
2. Prepare your child for her scheduled activities. If possible, visit the locations where she’ll be during day camp or day care in advance. Encourage your child to talk to camp counselors, caregivers, as well as other kids, asking them questions of interest about the site.
3. Have your child contribute to the family calendar. Together, highlight key summer events (e.g., community pool opens for recreation swim, July Fourth barbeque). Encourage your child mark these on the calendar, decorating the date field with theme-based cartoons.
4. Involve your child when preparing for family trips and activities. Depending on her age, she can help you map out driving routes, preparing a Google map or Mapquest directions from the Web. She could make a list of the clothing and recreational gear the family will need.
5. Encourage summertime learning. Summer outings may present opportunities for your child to learn about history, geography, and nature. Look for “teachable moments” and encourage her to listen, read, take photographs, collect postcards, and keep a journal of her adventures. This type of learning can boost the self-esteem of a child who struggles in school.