Preparing for Summer in Early Childhood
By the time your child is in Early Childhood, they likely have a better ability to discern between different kinds of days: school days, weekend days, holidays, etc. They may be contributing to the end of the school year, cleaning their classrooms or helping to put things away and, while they still are developing their understanding of concepts of time, they may demonstrate a wide range of emotions as they get ready to leave their classrooms for the summer.
If your child's school is out for the season, think about your child's summer as an opportunity for them to explore new adventures and to catch up on valuable time with their families. Your work demands may require time at camps or summer programs. While your child's schedule may not be as predictable in the summer as it is during the school year, look for ways to create some structure nonetheless. Keep your systems in place at home and make sure to slow down your expectations for them over the summer.
Summer is often a time for growth for children at this age, and growth spurts come with behaviors at both extremes. Your child may be more tired than usual right before a growth spurt, or your child may seem to have more energy than you know how to manage. Be patient. Imagine how disorienting it would be for you to wake up in a different body than you went to sleep in... for children in the middle of growth, every day can feel like they need to learn how to use their bodies again.
Summer, too, often sees more activity for children. Your child may see other children engaged in activities that are more advanced than they have yet mastered. They may find themselves inspired or they might be intimidated. Be conscientious to follow your child's lead, encouraging them to take risks without demanding they do what the other kids are doing. (And remembering, all the time, to drink that water!)
The specifics may be different depending on how your family structures its summer time, but whether you're headed to the beach or in camp programs or staying at home this season, remember to slow down and stay engaged with your child. For adults, summer is a rest time. For children, though, every thing feels different in the summer, and different is often stressful. Model peaceful pacing and maintain as much structure as possible. When your child feels secure and confident in their agency in their environment, the less predictable parts of summer will be more relaxing for you all.