Boost Your Child’s Executive Functioning Skills this Summer!

beach bag

As summer begins, it is natural to feel a mix of both excitement and anxiety. While summer gives children a much deserved break from school, there is less structure and scaffolding throughout a child’s day. For students who struggle with Executive Functioning, this lack of structure can present a unique set of challenges for parents and children, alike.

Summer, however, is actually the perfect time to continue the progress made during the school year. There are many ways to incorporate EF skills into the natural progression of summer break. Packing and planning for a day at the beach is a fun way to allow your child to practice their EF tools, while partaking in an exciting summer activity.

Prior to the beach day:

  1. Ask your child(ren) to help you create an itinerary for the day. Work backwards. What time should we be back at home? What time would we have to leave to achieve that goal?
  2. Have your child(ren) make a packing list. Creating lists allows students to sharpen their organizational abilities. Breaking it down into smaller chunks will make this more manageable– what clothes do you need? What about a snack for the car?
  3. Help your child(ren) think about a few structured activities that they would like to do throughout the day. Combining both structured play with unstructured play mimics the cadence of a school day. Examples of structured play: take an hour to build a sandcastle; go for a walk and collect seashells; create a new game.

On the day of the beach trip:

  1. Share the responsibility of packing lunch with your child(ren). For older child(ren), this could be something they take on themselves. With younger child(ren), they can help you decide what to make, and serve as sous-chef!
  2. Empower your child(ren) to take the lead in packing the car, using the packing list they have already created.
  3. On the car ride, ask your child(ren) what type of activities they are hoping to explore at the beach. Based on their suggestions, set aside a designated time for this to take place. For example, “prior to eating lunch, we can build a sandcastle.”

While this is just one example, there are many ways to help your child(ren) improve their EF skills while away from school. This will allow them to return to school a more confident version of themselves!

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