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Making the Most of Summer Days

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By Gaby McLish

Looking for a fun way to practice executive functioning skills with your child over the summer? Look no further! Everyone has one day during the summer whether it be the weekend or a day off from camp where you think to yourself…why didn’t I plan anything? In times like these, it’s actually a great opportunity to get input from your children and have them plan a day or an activity. Putting your children in the driver’s seat may seem scary, but with the right support and enough planning, it can be a rewarding and fun day. Here’s what you can to do to make it happen:

  1. Talk to your children: Ask them to think of something that they would really like to do this summer. If they have more than one idea, they can make a list and pick a few (if they’re all doable in one day, great! If not, pull out a calendar and see how you can space these days out).
  2. Brainstorm: Take some time to have your children think about what they’re going to need to make their day happen. Here are some guiding questions you can have them answer:
      • Where are you going?
      • What are we going to do there?
      • What makes this a good activity?
      • How will you get there?
      • How long does it take to get there?
      • Do you need money for your activity?
      • If yes, how much?
      • What time do you need to be there by?
      • Who is going with you?
      • What day are you going to go?
      • What do you need to bring with you?
      • What will the weather be like?
  1. Make a Plan: Once these questions have been answered, they can serve as a roadmap for planning the day. If your children (with some help) can identify and execute all the things necessary to do the activity they’ve picked, then they can get to it! If they need more support, it’s a great opportunity to work with them to troubleshoot the difficult parts and discuss alternatives for next time. You can help them think of things that they may not have considered, such as money for food or an activity to bring during downtime.
  2. Talk about what they accomplished: Let’s say that your children decide that they want to meet their friends at the pool for the day. They will need to pick a time to meet, set their alarm to get there on time, consider ways to get themselves there, and remember to bring sunscreen, among other things. Successfully planning this activity, even partially, is an accomplishment, and you can discuss how this mindset can be applied to other areas of life (i.e., how could you use these skills to get to school? Pack a bag for a trip?).

Regardless of the result, summer is a great time to try something new, so make sure that you and your children make it a fun experience!

Erica MechlinskiMaking the Most of Summer Days

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