Here at Skill Builders, we are wrapping up the school year schedule and gearing up for a fun summer with our kiddos. Summer is a great time to mix things up and nudge your child to step a bit outside of their comfort zone. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your summer break!
Make a plan
Encourage your child to help you plan out each week. You might have some structured activities like camp, therapies or appointments, but you probably also have some free time in there. Use those executive functioning and expressive language skills to plan some fun activities. Ask questions to help your child: What will we do? When will we go? What materials do we need? What are the steps? Who will participate?
Take a trip
A new environment can be a wonderful catalyst for language, sensory and cognitive development. New and exciting experiences often challenge children to put their skills to work. Vacations are great but try to get the most out of your local attractions as well. Explore a museum, take a hike to a creek, see a performance, or scope out a new playground!
Seek out sensory
Summer activities are packed with sensory input. Swimming pools, sprinklers, sand…there is so much to take in! Give your child opportunities each day to fuel their sensory needs. Got a kiddo who tends to get sensory overloaded? Carve out some “wind down” time each day for him to reset. Reduce light and noise, offer a comfortable seat and provide something calming, such as a fidget toy.
Try new foods
A lot of our kiddos tend to stick with the foods they know. Summer can offer many opportunities for picky eaters to give new tastes a try. Hit up your local farmer’s market, attend a food festival or dine at a new restaurant. Summer is also a great time to experiment with new foods at home. Dig out some kid-friendly recipes and try making something together!
Get a job
School is out which could mean less accountability for your child to complete tasks independently. I recommend giving kids one “daily job” and one “weekly job” to do. Select tasks that you know your child can do independently, or with very little support. This could be as simple as refilling the dog’s water bowl or bringing in the mail from the mail box. If needed, create some kind of visual reminder to help keep track of tasks completed.
When your child returns to school, I guarantee that he will be asked “What did you do this summer?””. For kids with language or social deficits, this can be a daunting question! Snap a pictures over the course of the summer and pull together a small photo album to stick in your child’s backpack. Flip through the album together and help your child generate one or two talking points for each picture. Practicing this at home will help set up him for success when he gets into the classroom.
You can also check out this post about getting the most out of your therapies during summer session. We can’t wait to hear about all of your summer adventures!
-Elizabeth Clark McKenzie, MS, CCC-SLP