Tips for Summer Success


Ready, Set...Summer!
Congratulations on another school year well done! As we transition to the fun – and unpredictability – of the summer months, here are some tips to set your family up for success.


We have finally reached the time of year that many of our children have been waiting for since last August – school is officially out for summer. While those words can bring to mind wonderful memories and excitement for the months to come, many families find it difficult to find the right balance of plans and free time to keep everyone on track.


The challenge I hear most often has to do with the lack of routine and structure many children experience during the summer. They might be spending more time at home, attending a variety of summer camps, visiting relatives, or adjusting to a new childcare arrangement. With that in mind, give the following ideas a try:


  • Plan ahead.

While you likely have some idea of what your child’s summer will look like, they might be a bit confused. Children often benefit from advanced knowledge of what to expect, including expectations for their participation and behavior.


  •  Prioritize structure.

Structure can be hard to come by due to constantly changing summer schedules; however, children thrive on routine. For this reason, I encourage families to create new, flexible routines- even if only for that week. For example, set limits on screen time and indicate when your child should expect to spend time with friends, rest, play outside, and eat meals.


  •  Put it to paper.

When in doubt, write down the plans and expectations for your child to refer back to when there are questions. For example, it can be helpful to display a calendar of the family’s plans for the next few months on the refrigerator. Additionally, each child will benefit from a more detailed weekly schedule highlighting what they will be doing each day. Regular check-ins and revisions can set everyone up for maximal success.


  •  Praise success.

As we learned in the March blog post, praise and positive attention are powerful tools to let your child know when you are proud of their behavior. Whether it is adjusting to a new camp, playing cooperatively with siblings at home, or learning a new skill during swim lessons, remember to shine your spotlight.


  •  Play, play, play!

Take a look at last month’s blog post for a refresher on a powerful way to play with your child over the summer!

Katherine Cohn, PhD

Licensed Child Clinical Psychologist

Licensed Specialist in School Psychology

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