Now that summer is on the way out and autumn is on the way in, Liz Matheis, Ph.D., gives tips on how to help your child stick to a schedule, even when there are so many strangers around during this time.
Many of our New Jersey warehouses closed this summer. Our vacation plans were preliminary and then canceled. These are long days that seem to have no schedule, routine, or plan. We still work for many of us parents; Some of us even return to our office buildings to resume our personal work. The question that comes before me when I look at my three children adoringly is, “What are they going to do now?”
If you’re anything like me, I am very concerned about how much lessons my kids have lost so far. Not only have all of our children experienced the usual three month summer slide, but our children will now experience the six month summer slide, and perhaps even longer as the year progresses. What can we do to slow the decline in skills and get (and keep) our children “ready for school”? I have a couple of ideas.
Hire a tutor
There are many teachers, students, and students out there who can give our children lessons in a particular subject or area that your child will not thrive in as easily as in other areas. If you are looking for a specialized curriculum like Orton-Gillingham you need to find a teacher with training or certification.
Establish a four-day schedule
If you’re still in summer mode, keep the schedule light and simple. So, set the expectation for your child or children to work on schoolwork four days a week over a three-day weekend. A five-day schedule can seem overwhelming and reduce your child’s motivation.
Make a schedule
If you have teens or teenagers, consider building in time for your child to fall asleep and then schedule a time to start reading or doing math. Ideally, schoolwork is best completed in the morning, when energy and motivation are still high. Work attempted after 3 p.m. is unlikely to complete. For the rest of the day, your child may want the flexibility to set their agenda however they want, as long as their reading and writing are completed.
Let an app take care of it
If your children are anything like mine, they fear that I will guide their instructions (and so do I). Allow your child to practice skills with apps or software programs that are visual, colorful, and maybe even fun. Avoid workbooks and worksheets if you can as they are a huge challenge for any child anywhere.
Set the timer
We all know we have the ideal time to focus and finish the job. For some, this time span is 10 minutes, 25 minutes, 35 minutes, or 45 minutes. Instead of checking how much time working on a topic or skill can be infinite, set a timer. As soon as the doorbell rings, stop. Set another time for a 3 or 5 minute break and then come back. Little chunks of time, little chunks of work, and it’s done without a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.
Keep it simple and easy. I wish all of us a fun, relaxing and productive end of summer and the transition to autumn.
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