THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

4 Ways Parents/Guardians Can Create Positive Structure for Kids in the Summer

Photo by  Charlein Gracia  on  Unsplash

Summer is finally here! But while kids are likely excited to have a few months off school, parents and guardians might be worried that the unstructured freedom of the summer months can take a toll on their children’s behavior or academics moving forward. We asked our team of clinicians at YDC to discuss ways that parents and guardians can create a sense of structure for their children while keeping things fun and preparing them for the upcoming school year at the same time.

Here's what they had to say:

Routine is Key!
Think about food and sleep as two vital pillars for your child's daily structure in the summer, a time when kids might stay up past their bedtimes, sleep until much later than normal, and eat at off-times. A sense of a schedule (albeit one that can be flexible depending on what's going on day-to-day!) will keep your child feeling positive and inspired to engage in activities.

Productive Play
Let your kids enjoy the weather and the outdoors! Depending your schedule, a great way to keep them active and social during the summer is by enrolling them in sports or other camps. In this way, children not only get physical exercise, but they also learn about team building and other skills. Organizations like the YMCA, Salvation Army, and Boys and Girls Club will have more information on programs and camps that are free or of little charge.

Read, Read, Read!
The summer months offer a perfect opportunity to fortify and enhance your child’s reading skills. The Newark Public Library offers an array of summer reading programs like the Summer Reading Challenge, during which children log reading times and receive incentives. The best part is that an NPL library card is free for Newark residents! Don’t have time to go to the library? We suggest creating a book club with your child. Create a reading schedule and discuss important themes to get the conversation started and keep them engaged. 

Spend Quality Time Together
We know parents and guardians lead busy lives, often balancing work, taking care of their children, and much more. But of course, it’s important to carve out some quality time with your child for their overall healthy emotional development. Plan activities that foster a sense of bonding when possible. If on a tight budget, activities like having a picnic in the park, going to a museum, or visiting the beach, are free or low cost. The idea is to create memories that your child can look back on fondly, knowing they have a loving parent in their lives to support them in whatever challenges that academics or life may present.

We hope you have a great summer! 

5 Ways Parents Can Help Their Children with School-Related Stress

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With the school year in full swing, various pressures could be mounting into stressors in the lives of students. They might be having difficulty managing their homework load, or could be struggling with certain social activities or interactions, or maybe they’re having trouble with a certain teacher or subject. The possibilities are many and might vary, but the good news is that parents can help reduce this stress by taking some concrete steps at home.

We asked our staff clinicians for ways parents could do just that, and below reflects what they suggest. Even if your child isn’t showing obvious signs of stress, these steps can help prevent it from coming on or might help address issues they're not even processing or communicating quite yet.

1) Open Communication - Ask questions about your child’s day, schoolwork, friends, teachers, etc. Be sure that they’re open-ended questions instead of simple yes or no. This helps create a positive dialogue with your child about school, which, in turn, helps build trust and an open channel for your child to discuss their worries and concerns with you. Perhaps discuss school issues and concerns over hot chocolate or any other comforting food or drink that will help your child relax and feel more open to talking.

2) Get Involved with school activities, which helps you get to know their teachers so that you can advocate for your child when necessary. Build good relationships with school staff and parents. Create an open line of communication with them that sets the tone that parent, children, and teachers are all part of the same team.

3) Create a Routine – Reduce stress related to homework, tests, and projects by creating a routine at home during which you set a time and space aside (as often as necessary) to help them get their work done in a relaxing way.

4) Time Management – As you work with your child to create a routine that works for everyone, help them break down their school work in chunks and tasks to be completed. Use calendars and planners to think ahead and keep track of due dates. Don’t put emphasis on how big or small the assignments are, just focus on getting them done, one at a time.

5) Back to Basics: Nutrition – A balanced meal goes a long way in helping your child keep their focus on school tasks. Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep time by limiting usage of phones, laptops, tablets, and TV. A good sleeping schedule and nutritious meals can help reduce stress while at school and increase focus.

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For more on our staff clinicians, visit our team page