It is hot, humid and feeling very mid-summer like over most of the country. Kids are deep into the swing of lazy days, camps and hanging out. For kids with Learning Disabilities this is heaven! No heavy schedules and even less academic work. But how is your family getting along at this midpoint in the summer? Is it time to check in on the summer communication and how it is going?
Did you make plans in the beginning of the summer around expectations for helping around the house, keeping academic skills fresh and making good decisions every day? If you didn’t, now is a great time to notice what is working and what isn’t working and do a little retooling! Communication is the key to effectively checking in and making any changes necessary.
To start, call a family meeting and as the organizer, bring your Open Ended Questions. Open Ended Questions are questions that can’t be answered with a Yes or No and make the listener really think about an answer. Have several of these questions ready to gauge everyone’s satisfaction with this wonderful, carefree time of year. Here are some examples:
- What has gone really well this summer?
- What would you like to see more of?
- What would you like to change about this summer?
- What do you want to see happen before summer is over?
The next key to having this exercise reinvigorate your summer is taking the time to really listen to each family member as they share their answers. Stop what you are doing and look the person in the eye that is talking. Being truly listened to is a great gift. Give your family members the opportunity to give and receive this most important gift.
This simple meeting will deliver BIG if you give the time to ask Open Ended Questions and deeply listen to the answers. Incorporate these communication skills into your daily life and make the second half of the summer great. They will serve you and your family now and in the school year ahead!
Go Ahead, Really Communicate!
It’s everywhere! Kids must think teachers and parents are out to get them! Kids with learning disabilities can sniff “school” from a mile off… and during the lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer someone trying to slide a math work sheet under their nose can spell no fun. However, keeping skills current is important.
The loss of learning that can take place over a summer neglecting skills is considerable. “We think summer is a great break from school but not a great break from learning,” Gary Huggins, the CEO of the National Summer Learning Association told The Huffington Post. So how do we, as responsible parents, nurture the learning but give our kids with learning disabilities a break from academic rigor? The good news is there are a million different ways and lots of resources to find those ways.
Some ideas to exercise your kids mind include travel, cooking, gardening, scrap booking, playing games, going to the library and on and on. Here are some concrete ideas… let’s make this summer easy!
Just yesterday I found a website with 10 arm-chair field trips. Project those on your TV (the kids will know how to connect the computer to the TV!) pop up some popcorn and enjoy time together. These “field trips” can explore geography, different cultures and planning. http://bit.ly/11FzvUB
Cooking and gardening can be combined to make jam. Use the quick method for jam – its easy and you will be doing math before you know it by measuring and counting. Bonus: fine motor skill activities are engaged too. You will end with a sweet topping for ice cream and something for your toast. Win, Win, Win!
Lastly, take advantage of programs that your local library, YMCA and town newspaper already have done the footwork on to help you keep young minds active. If you make it easy for yourself, summer learning can continue in and out of the classroom making it fun for everyone!