Parents

You Didn't Work On Your Child's School Skills Over The Summer? Read This — And Relax

By Rayma Griffin

Summer is rushing to an end and the new school year is looming on the horizon. In my experience, this is when parents begin to panic about the academic skills their kids may have lost during the break.

And despite best intentions, you may not have gotten to all those learning activities you’d planned to do over the summer. But it’s OK.

What’s done is done.

Instead of stressing about lost skills, here’s my advice.

Kids who return to school relaxed, healthy and well rested are the ones who are most ready to learn. So concentrate on what your child needs right now to be ready for a successful school year.

For example, this is a good time to return to a consistent bedtime for your child. The same goes for mealtimes. Start having breakfast and dinner on a school-friendly schedule at least a week before he goes back.

2. Talk to your child about the start of school.

Explain to him how getting back into routines makes returning to a school schedule easier. Get a copy of his new class schedule and walk your child through a typical school day. Check out the bus route. Purchase back-to-school supplies and plan his first day’s outfit together. Familiarity dispels anxiety!

3. Make healthy food choices and keep your child moving.

The end of summer doesn’t mean an end to outdoor playtime. It’s important for good nutrition and physical activity to be part of your child’s daily routine throughout the year.

Kids do lose some skills over the summer. That’s a fact. But if your child is healthy, rested and relaxed, he’ll be more ready to learn once school starts.

And what about academics?

If you can sneak in some casual learning through fun games and excursions before school starts, that’s great! But this isn’t the time to cram in tons of academic activities. So put down the flash cards and math drills.

Instead, make sure the supports and services that your child needs to be successful are in place when he arrives at school.

If your child has an IEP or a 504 plan, make sure all his teachers know what’s required. Check whether services and accommodations will be available when school starts.

If your child struggles in a specific area, make sure his teacher is aware of his needs. It’s a good idea to schedule a meeting with the teacher before the start of school. You may even want to write an “all about my kid” letter describing what your child does well and what his challenges are.

Kids do lose some skills over the summer. That’s a fact. But if your child is healthy, rested and relaxed, he’ll be more ready to learn once school starts.

This post originally appeared on Understood.org.

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