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Newsletter: June 2014

What’s on the Menu for June? Transition.

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As the school year winds down, children’s excitement for the freedom of summer often winds up. Your child might be waiting with enthusiasm for that final bell to ring and then, when it finally does, he or she is suddenly sad.

All transitions are hard but the school-to-summer one can sometimes take kids and their parents by surprise. Children often miss their friends. Or they miss the routine and structure of the classroom. Or they have mixed feelings about camp.

With this in mind, we offer the following five tips to help ease the school-to-summer transition in your household:

  • Before the school years ends, invite your kids to talk about the transition during dinner. You might ask: What are some things you learned this year? What was the best part of the school year? What was the hardest? How do you think you’ve changed since the start of the year? What are you looking forward to/nervous about this summer? Older children may be interested in hearing stories about how you’ve dealt with similar transitions in the past.
  • Dream up a playful ritual to mark the last day of school. For example, let your child choose his or her favorite recipe (one that you can make together, perhaps?), with a fun dessert and a game or movie afterwards. Or create an album together, featuring snapshot memories and photos from the year. Even better, make this activity an annual family tradition.
  • Another helpful ritual is to quickly clean out that backpack and put away the work from the past year. This is a smart idea from a hygienic perspective, of course, as there may be food lurking in that bag somewhere. But “cleaning out the bag” is also a symbolic way to recognize your children’s accomplishments, pause to savor (and save) some highlights, and start with a clean slate for the summer.
  • Take a cue from teachers and introduce routines if your kids are home all day. Do daily activities at scheduled times if possible, so kids know what to expect. For example, you could do art in the morning followed by outdoor play, followed by quiet time, and then lunch. Dinner together is, of course, another scheduled activity (or breakfast if that works better for you), and a wonderful opportunity to check in and connect.
  • Often, kids miss their classmates during the summer. Make it a point to invite some of their friends’ families over for a family dinner or a barbecue occasionally during the summer so that the kids can see each other. Or make it a community dinner or block party – the more, the merrier!

Recipe

foodSummer bean and corn salad is delicious and easy to make for your next summer barbecue. Read more

 

Fun

fun

I’m Going on a Picnic is great fun at the dinner or picnic table, or anywhere really! Guaranteed silliness will ensue. Read more.

 

Conversation:

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This month’s conversation starters are all about noticing and dealing with change.

Age 2-7

Talk in detail about something or someone you’ve seen change, like a younger sibling, the moon or a caterpillar.

If you could change one thing about your family or about school, what would it be?

In the book Green Eggs and Ham, Sam-I-am refuses to try green eggs and ham. Then he does and he likes them. Has something similar ever happened to you?

8-13

Talk about a time something changed for you, something beyond your control. Have your feelings about this event changed over time?

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Why?

Do you have a favorite movie, book or song that deals with change? Why is this your favorite?

14-100

The poet Maya Angelou once said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” What do you think she meant by this? Have you ever had to do this?

Talk about the most difficult transition you’ve experienced in your lifetime.

 

2 Responses

  • I love your suggestions to talk about the natural transition from school to summer vacation during dinner. I’m going to try your conversation starter from Maya Angelou.

    Another quote I really like is, “The secret of change is to focus your energy not on fighting the old, but building the new.” Socrates

    Observing change is a helpful way to pause and reflect rather than getting caught off guard by unsettled feelings.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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