Jamie could hardly sit still in her seat. Today was the last day of school and she couldn’t wait to get home. She and Anne had already made plans for an “overnight” this weekend to celebrate. She talked non-stop in the car. As she chatted incessantly about staying up late, no homework and all the social plans she had made for the summer, mom became nervous. Was now the time to tell Jamie about summer camp and the music classes? No, better to wait and discuss it at dinner, as a family.
Chris got into the car after school and sat mutely staring out the window. “So how was your last day of school?” mom asked cheerfully. No response. She worried about Chris. He’d been bored at school all year and even though she knew he was glad to be out, she was concerned that he would be bored at home as well. “He needs social outlets,” she thought to herself. “I wonder if I should sign him up for something?”
Two different families, two very different kids. One of the ways to avoid disappointment over summer plans is to make sure to involve your children in the planning process. A child who is quiet, introverted and “earthy” by nature may feel overwhelmed at the thought of a three-week acting class. Just as a child who is artistic and chatty may not enjoy attending a rigorous sports camp. Introducing your children to new experiences, while honoring who they inherently are can be tricky. If you use your powers of observation to help define who your child is energetically, however, you will find it much easier to make those hard summer decisions.
And while we are on the subject of transitions….. Be sure to arrange the summer so your child has some free time between school and summer camp. Everyone needs the freedom to relax, sleep, play and “just be.” If you plan transition time both at the beginning of the summer and at the end, your child will adjust much more easily to their new schedules and activities.