Many families put children into summer programs to “help” the child. Sometimes you need to re-evaluate these programs. Are they doing what you want or need them to do?
Sometimes summer is better off spent in quality summer family time!
When I first started working with children, I would have said 99.9% of the time it is great to be five years old. Now, I listen to kids…really listen to them. It is just as hard to be five as it is to be fifteen. Just different things matter but they still matter to the child.
Often a five year old will say his or her mind says one things but his or her mouth says another. This seems to be a common theme in teen years also. After working with some people, I have come to know it is also a common concern with adults often. How to teach a child to listen to their inner voice or mind, WAIT, and then let their mouth work is really hard work? You have to catch them in teachable moments so you can point out the skills they might want to have done instead of what they just did.
Research after research shows that this type of work is best done in small groups so each child can learn after each others comments, mistakes and successes. But it takes a very special person to do this group work. They can’t preach. They can’t compare the kids in the group. They can’t expect their suggestions to be done the first time. They do have to be consistent. They do have to like each child in the group. They do have to have the patience to go over and over basic social skills.
Often parents put children into summer classes or situations hoping they will gain some ‘social skills’.
These classes seldom address what the child really needs. In fact, they often let the child try on more unsuccessful peer interactions and get away with more inappropriate behavior.
Children learn so much more with the interactions between themselves and their parents. This is when real learning starts to happen.
As a five year old told me…some fun things can be hard to do…and some hard things are actually fun! Depends on the teacher!
Think about who is spending time with your child this summer – are they sending the right messages to your child? If not, you need to step in and inform them that your expectations are higher and your child deserves more.