Guest Post by Katy Fleming, MA, LPC, BSN, RN
Hot summer months are rapidly approaching and the school year will quickly come to an end. For preschoolers and other young children, their world often turns upside down as they try to adjust.
Ease your frustrations and encourage your little ones by implementing these ways to transition your child from preschool to summer break.
How to Transition Your Child From Preschool to Summer Break
As the school year wraps up and the summer break begins, our kiddos look forward to family fun and long days in the sun.
Many little ones have difficulty adjusting from highly structured school settings and early wake-ups to free reign at home.
Implement these 5 tips to support your preschoolers and other children as they transition from the school year to the freedom of summer break.
1. Back to the Basics
Before diving too deep, it’s important to ensure your child has all their basic needs met.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow identified the hierarchy of our basic needs: first physiological (i.e., hunger), then safety, and love/belonging. This widely accepted theory emphasizes the importance of addressing our basic human needs.
Before your child can worry about their friendships and activities, they must receive nutrition and adequate sleep. This promotes not only their physical well-being but also cognitive and psychological development.
2.Keep the Routine
Young children thrive off of structure and routine. A set routine provides a sense of security and stability for your home.
Keep in mind that your child has a detailed set schedule every day at school. They probably know that playtime happens after they’ve eaten their snack and finished nap time.
Waking up and heading to bed at the same time each day sets the tone for your children. Also, try to keep meals and bath time at similar time frames each day.
Whether you’re a working parent or a stay-at-home parent, minimize unnecessary anxiety and stress by maintaining a set routine from the school year through the summer months.
3. Set the Expectations
Predictability is another key component to a successful transition from the school year to summer break. As a preschooler, your little one doesn’t know what to expect. Surprises may induce fear, anxiety, and stress.
Before the school year finishes, set clear expectations with your child. Discuss the summer routine and typical daily schedule. You may ask your child to complete a daily chore or participate in certain activities.
Visual reminders of the schedule and expectations help our younger kiddos significantly. You can purchase cheap calendars, schedules, or a whiteboard online to post in your home.
4. Create Positive Reinforcement
Many children respond well to praise and rewards. Teachers encourage hand-raising and other classroom behaviors through sticker charts and prize boxes. This is a classic example of positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement is when you’re promoting good behavior to continue through rewards. For example, if your child receives a highly desired candy each time they clean their room, then they are more likely to continue cleaning.
Before the summer begins, identify a few tasks or behaviors for your child to earn points. This may include picking up their toys or taking a bath. Choose how many points they need to earn to get a prize. Then, ask your child to help you pick the reward.
Here’s an example: Tell your child to have 5 days with good behavior (i.e., playing without hitting friends). Clearly define good behavior. Your kiddo asks to earn a pizza night as a reward. After the 5 days, be sure to follow through with your prize!
Create a chart in your home to display the points earned and further encourage your little one.
5. Plan Learning Opportunities
Continue to promote education and learning opportunities for your little one. Many communities have summer camps, children’s programs at their local library, and a variety of museums.
This promotes a smooth transition back to the next school year, as well. Your child can continue growing through the summer months.
Looking for more parenting tips? You’ll love these:
- 10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Daycare
- 3 Baby Registry Mistakes to Avoid
- Common Mistakes Parents Make When Their Infant or Child Is Sick
- Chronic Congestion Vs. A Stuffy Nose: What Parents and Caregivers Need to Know
- Epic Sleep Tips for Traveling with Your Kiddos
It’s not easy to transition from the school year to the summer months. For a preschooler, it’s a completely new experience. Ease your child into their summer break by providing clear expectations and a set routine.
Ensure your kiddo is getting 10-13 hours of sleep each night and 3 balanced meals throughout the day. There’s a variety of learning experiences to check out over the summer, too!
Extensive research supports positive reinforcement and behavior modification. Set a clear and concise system with your preschooler to promote good behavior as you transition into the summer.
As a licensed counselor and registered nurse, Katy approaches freelance writing with years of experience and a unique perspective. Alongside her partner, Katy loves to travel the world and embrace other cultures from volcanoes in Iceland to villages in India.
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