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Summer Break Tips

Summer break is coming close and parents are on alert for: summer camps, attractions, activities, family fun days, and the mall. All the these things fill up the kids' days, but they also empty out their parents' wallet and cause a constant "pressure cooker". How can we have an active, affordable, and even maybe a little educational, and most important, relaxing, summer break?

Do you have a child with learning disabilities or ADHD? The difficulty for you, dear parents, is much greater!

This is how you'll get through it in one piece:

  Enjoy the break and even a little inactivity! This is still vacation for the kids. Children with special needs experience many difficulties during the school year. Now that summer break has arrived, this is the time to rest and recharge for the next school year.

Is there a test or assignment during the break? Make sure to set aside time for it so the child will know and prepare himself emotionally and physically for the deadline.

  Make family decisions together so that the break will become an empowering family experience. This is an opportunity to strengthen the parent-child relationship, without topics like school, homework, and grades straining the relationship
  Talk with your children. How much do we really speak with our children? The conversations parents have with their children are usually connected to school and how they're doing at school. These conversations are mostly conducted as a monologue. But now, there's no school. This is an excellent opportunity to improve the relationship and to spend more time together.
  Do activities that they like to do. This is an opportunity to take advantage of the time to do activities that usually, as parents, we don't have time to do. Watch programs that they like to watch! One mother told the experts at Nitzan that she started watching, with her 8-year-old son, "Survival" to see what he likes about the show. Through the show, she taught him about the meaning of adultery, friendship, and relationships in groups. Play computer games with your children that they like in order to learn what they enjoy!
  Let the children be creative at home - re-organize the house with the children's help. Divide up the load of home chores. Allow the children to try every day to do a different chore. Clean the house together, cook together with the children; let the chores become an experience.
  Keep a routine - a set daily routine is very important! Waking up, shared activity, rest, set time for TV, time for using the computer, and, of course, a reasonable bedtime. Keeping a set routine, more or less, allows continued organization and increased feeling of control for the child and parent. A set routine contributes to an atmosphere in which the happenings are more or less expected, besides those over which we don't have control.
  Strengthen the connection with the extended family - invite nephews, aunts and uncles who we haven't seen for a long time, go visit, mutual leisure time with the extended family...
  A vacation trip - if a family trip is planned, the child can be included in the planning. Look together on websites, monetary considerations, and list of items, packing suitcases together...
  Keep a summer break journal; encourage the children to write during the summer break. The child can write alone or together with the parents. Add photos from the vacation experiences; add souvenirs, and more.
  Reading - read together before sleep; parents read to children and the opposite. You can dramatize, the children can write stories themselves, the older children can read to the younger ones and the opposite.
  Baking and cooking - Making a mess is always fun! While cooking and enjoying, you can teach the child about amounts, prices, instructions, combining flavors, cleaning, setting the table, and more.
  Theatre, dance, museum, and films - Doing new things is always good! When was the last time you went to the museum, to the theatre, or to a concert? It's possible to find lots of attractions that the children will connect to and will also be educational and inexpensive.
  Drawing and sculpting - with the help of simple materials, it's possible to do all sorts of creative and special activities at home. Drawing and painting are not only for the art teacher. It's possible to sculpt with plaster, which is easy and cheap.
  And for struggling students...they also need a break and maybe even more than everyone else. But in order to make a good start to the next school year, you should suggest to them to start remembering their studies actively two or three weeks before the beginning of school. If there is a private tutor, maybe you should start meeting in order to review material from the previous year (especially in English and math). You should look over the class schedule, read some of the stories/chapters with which they will begin the year in the highly verbal subjects like Tanach, literature, and history. In short, try to get them interested in the coming school year so they'll have a good start.
  A vacation day for parents or "getting together at friends' house" - an idea that allows a time-out and renewing of emotional and physical energies. It's a fun day for the kids at their friends' house. During times of economic cautiousness this activity has a lot of advantages: the child enjoys social interaction and the parent renews his energies.

This recreation day is much cheaper than alternate activities and allows variety in the summer break routine.

  In preparation for the return to school: two-three weeks before the beginning of school, you should start actively thinking about school; remember teachers' names, stories from the previous year, bring up worries and hopes about the new school year. You should give space to all of their feelings without forcing them to stand up to our expectations. When talking about older students, you can read together the table of contents of the textbooks of the more verbal subjects. You can look at chapter headings and make guesses about the content of the learning material. It's recommended to avoid, as much as possible, from taking a didactic-educational stance