Creative Child

5 Healthy Habits You Want to Continue in the Summer to Make School Transition a Breeze

by Deborah Song

Summer provides a nice seasonal break from school. But the way to maintain good habits is to not break them. Here are five healthy habits and practices to continue in the summer that will help your child create a seamless transition into the school year, as well as provide a smooth wave to ride out for the remainder of the summer.

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  • First things first. The essence of having good time management is to prioritize your most important tasks first. There will always be more things to do or things your child will want to do than there will be time available. So getting in the mode of crossing off the most important tasks first will enable your child to develop an empowering life skill. A good rule of thumb when prioritizing first things first may be to tackle the least desirable to-do first. That way your child can enjoy doing the rest of his responsibilities with more ease and less stress. Summer break may not consist of many pressing tasks for your child, but even getting in the habit of doing simple chores, reading for 10 minutes, playing an instrument, or practicing a sport before watching TV is a great way to instill healthy habits, which brings us to our next point.
  • Assign responsibilities. Yes, summer most definitely is a time to relax. But this doesn’t have to mean a break from all responsibilities. Even simple house chores like making the bed, turning off lights, and cleaning up toys, are meaningful ways to contribute to the family. Accountability not only teaches a child to be responsible, but it also makes him feel like an important and needed member of the family. Responsibilities can instill pride in your child and help him thrive even when school starts.

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  • Create a productive space for your child. Part of setting up a daily routine is to “regularly and reliably do the work in a habitual way” says Seth Godin. “The notion that I do my work here, now, like this, even when I do not feel like it, and especially when I do not feel like it, is very important.” Creating a dedicated space for your child to work is important because, as many interior designers will tell you, a physical space creates an expectation of the person who walks into that room. An organized work space where your child can do his best thinking, work on his homework or some passion project, implicitly creates an expectation of him.
  • Schedule in time for unorganized play. Summer is a time for fun. And perhaps your child has had tons of it. But before you glance over this point, make sure that you understand what unorganized playtime actually entails. Unorganized play is not just fun, though it certainly can and should be that. But it’s also a whole lot more. Unorganized play is unstructured time for your child to figure out how to entertain himself outside the confines of playdates and curated activities.

    Many kids who are left to their own devices will engage in pretend play, some form of building or drawing, or even lie down and sing and daydream. While this may seem “unproductive” in our activity-crazed culture, unorganized playtime actually creates the very space that allows our kids to think, imagine, and connect the dots between two seemingly disparate thoughts, the very definition of creativity provided by Steve Jobs. Not only Jobs, but scientists are showing that unorganized playtime, which research shows today’s kids are lacking, enhances creativity on a biological level as well. It actually helps to develop the part of a child’s brain that makes a person creative. Since this type of play is natural for kids, scheduling unorganized playtime will require the conscious effort on the part of the parent more than the child. But it is absolutely essential in helping kids recharge, enhance creativity and become independent all at the same time.
  • Get to bed on time. There definitely will be summer nights where a child stays up past his bedtime. But sleep is absolutely crucial in every facet of a child’s development, emotionally, behaviorally and physically. Not only is a good sleeping pattern conducive to waking up on time for school, but there’s an optimal time for sleep. And staying up too late routinely will compromise the quality of your child’s sleep, his development and the quality of his day.

 

Deborah Song is a Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based writer, who obtained her master's in journalism from New York University. She is the founder of worklifeparent.com, and is passionate about helping parents find better work-life balance and proper support through community.

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