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Tips and Tricks for a Smooth School to Summer Schedule Transitions


Tips and Tricks for a Smooth School to Summer Schedule Transitions

Brooke S. Backsen MOT, OTR/L, RYT

My Recess Therapy 

Have you seen that funny meme from teachers…Ok Parents, tag your it!”.   Funny and true!

Summer is here and there is quite a shift in your child’s daily routine.    For some kids, that transition from a highly scheduled day with known expectations to a more relaxed routine of summer filled with pool days, road trips, and unexpected changes in plans can set them on a bit of a tail spin.

Children in general thrive and crave structure.  One of the top reasons that structure is so beneficial for children is because it allows them the ability to prepare, anticipate, and plan their responses/behaviors for what’s coming next.  Unexpected changes can cause even adults feelings of anxiety.  For kids who are newly developing the tools to cope with varying emotions, these changes can result in big emotions and responses budding from feelings of anxiety or frustration from the unexpected.

Here are our top tips and tricks to make this school to summer transition a bit smoother for your kids and your family while promoting confidence, independence, and regulation.

Prep for the change: In the days upcoming to summer break, beginning chatting with your child about the differences between school days (classes, structure, routine vs  outdoor play,  camps, family trips)

Create a New Routine:  Getting your family in a daily routine can be a great place to start.   This can be as simple or as specific as you like.  The important part is letting your child know what’s to expect and what’s coming next.

    Simple example:

    • Breakfast, Get Dressed.
    • Outside Play
    • Activity (this may change daily – park, run errands, class)
    • Lunch
    • Free play
    • Chore time/Academic Activity
    • Dinner to bedtime routine

Activities List:  Avoid the “I’m bored” discussion by creating a simple list of summer time activities.  Throw in some academic activities as well to keep their brains firing for the school year ahead.

Chores:  Incorporate chores into your child’s daily routine.  Believe it or not, participating in a chore sparks pride and develops a sense of contribution to the house and family unit.  Sprinkle in lots of praise “When you did that it really helped Mom out!  Now I have more time to play with you tonight”.  Google a list of age appropriate chores to hang on your fridge for your child to choose from.

Now, EVERY CHILD AND FAMILY IS UNIQUE.  Some kids thrive in more structure then others.  Some kids prefer a visual schedule whereas some kids just like to talk through the daily plan the night before.  Take these tips and sway them in a way that fits your families mold, daily routine and summer goals.  Oh yeah, and go have some FUN!


If changes in routine or transitions between daily activities is highly challenging for your child, reach out to an Occupational Therapist.  Through Occupational Therapy, your child will learn tools and strategies to manage big emotions, prepare their bodies for unexpected changes and transitions, as well as find tools to best navigate their daily routines and kid roles.


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