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June 18, 2024

Summer Strategies to Foster Growth and Prevent Behavioral Regression in Your Child

As the summer quickly approaches and the school year comes to an end, we have some tips to help keep your children growing and to help prevent behavioral regression.

  • Provide consistency by having a semi-structured schedule whenever possible. Summer brings lots of excitement and changes in routine for children. Setting up simple routines throughout the day can help reduce anxiety and emotional difficulties with handling the many changes in schedules (i.e., morning routine, bedtime routine, scheduled activities such as play time/pool etc.) Post schedules for the week using child friendly calendars and review upcoming events and activities. Ensure time for your child to ask questions about anything that may be new or different. Provide specific praise for flexibility, trying something new and for being a risk taker and/or be brave.
  • Reinforce social skills learned throughout the school year by setting up play dates, taking field trips to the park, farm, library, or pool with a friend. Model and coach your child on how to initiate and reciprocate conversations. Model appropriate replacement language and coping tools when interacting with peers. Many resources for generalizing social skills can be found online.
  • If your child has a positive reinforcement system in place for the school year, carry over the system into the summer months by adapting the rules and/or goals to meet their summer needs. For example, using kind words, keeping a safe body, keeping room clean, practicing their reading and math etc. • Catch your child “being good” and provide them with behavior specific praise for following directions, etc.
  • If your child has a behavior intervention plan or behavior support plan throughout the school year, continue to generalize strategies into the home/community setting.
  • Work with your child’s strengths and interests. Make time each day to talk about the day and set your child up for success the following day.
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule as much as possible Set summer goals (ex: following directions the first time they are asked, not interrupting during conversations, etc.) Pair goals with access to rewards (both short and long-term goals).
  • Prep your child for any upcoming vacations your family may be taking by showing them the location and all expectations through videos/YouTube and include them in preparing for the upcoming trip.
  • Continue with consistent and daily hygiene routines (avoid granting access to pajamas all day, skipping showers, etc.).
  • Provide time each day for physical fitness like swimming, going for a walk, exercise workout videos, dancing, hiking, sensory walks, etc.
  • Monitor access to all devices, ensuring content is developmentally appropriate.
  • Avoid power struggles and remind your child of their behavioral expectations.

Enjoy your time together and have a beautiful, safe summer.

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