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Summertime is a good time to face challenges of the school year

The last 180 days have been a whirlwind for many families. We are the parents of four boys. Our oldest just completed kindergarten. Our heads are still spinning over how much our little boy has grown in such a short amount of time. I think it’s important to take some time this summer to reflect a bit on what changes may have occurred in our children. Celebrate and encourage the good, and think of some ways to tackle the challenges that also reared their ugly head.

Of course he’s grown in size. He barely squeezes into the shorts he began school with; however, I couldn’t seem to muster up the motivation to buy new shorts for the last month of school. This sudden growth has been fed, literally, by his increase in appetite. I thought I was giving him enough food each day. In the spring, he let me know that I needed to “add something else in a plastic bag” to his lunch box. I am planning on meeting this challenge head-on by having him help me pack his lunch each night. Or perhaps having him put together five or 10plastic baggies on Sunday and he can put whatever two he chooses into the lunch box each morning.

Fine motor, fine motor, fine motor skills. We know our son can certainly work on these seemingly all-important concepts. While he can stand to practice proper pencil grip and handwriting, we have seen progress since day one. We like to encourage him to work hard on writing and cutting while he is at school. To meet this challenge over the summer, he will spend some time working on these things. I know other children have issues with reading, math, or social behavior. Summer seems the perfect time to practice needed skills in a relaxed setting.

Our son has made new friends this year. We would like to encourage these friendships while walking the thin line of being important role models to him. One challenge this year has been new sayings, new likes, and new ways of playing – all brought on by his being surrounded by 18 other kindergartners each day. Summer is an easy answer to bring back family time. The pace is slower, and memories can be made over splash pads, board games, bike rides, and visits with relatives. It is a joy to see the boys playing Legos or cars together instead of wolfing down breakfast to get to school on time.

We definitely want to encourage our son to hold onto the concepts he has learned and begun to master. He found a lot of interests during these past 180 days. Map skills, a little Texas history, number lines, and music are just a few of the things he has come home excited about. During the summer, we’d like to spend some time on digging a little deeper into these kinds of things. Trips to the library or museum are planned, of course, as well as YouTube videos that might help him see and learn a bit more.

What kinds of challenges and changes have you experienced this school year? How do you plan to meet the challenges head on? How will your child spend the summer?

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