Summer Tips from Bennett’s Learning Services Team

With the end of the school year around the corner, our Learning Services Team wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the months ahead and share helpful tips for maintaining routines and learning practices while balancing flexibility in the summer.

Below you will find some social and emotional recommendations from our Counseling Team as well as academic recommendations from our Learning Resource Team.

Social/Emotional Recommendations:

Summer Anxiety

Students are finishing up the school year and the end-of-the-year conversations start to happen in the classroom and at home. Plans and vacations are a little bit more abstract, whereas school/home routines are concrete, which can cause a little bit of worry. Additionally, they may have to say goodbye, even if it’s just for the summer, it can be tough. As adults, we need to acknowledge that this year has been an unusual year, and so your child(ren) may respond differently than they have in the past. 

While we cannot give children (or ourselves) what everyone is looking for – a guarantee that everything will go according to plan and be okay – here are some tips to support your children during this transitional time:

  • Set up a family meeting to talk about what we want summer to look like and the routines we want to put in place so that we have a great summer.
    • Give children a voice when there is outside time/technology/going to the park/playdates/reading – the list goes on.  
    • Keep the family meetings up once a week. This way you can talk about what went well and what might need to be tweaked.
  • Allow children to talk about their feelings. 
    • Validate these feelings. 
  • Normalize it! Saying goodbye and starting new relationships is scary!
  • Children sometimes don’t have the words to describe their feelings, one thing we can do is model and narrate our worries with language.
  • Use the “of course” phrase. Example: of course you are nervous about 1st grade! 
    • This is a way to validate your kiddo’s feelings.
  • Create a plan with your child that builds on their strengths.
    • For example, you can say to your child: “You are great at asking questions. Here are some questions you can ask your teacher!”
  • Incorporate mindful moments or activities in the day
    • It can be as simple as taking deep breaths at the beginning and end of the day, yoga, watching clouds, and nature walks. 


Routines can be the hardest thing to maintain on a regular basis, let alone on summer vacation! However, the hardest things are usually the most important. We definitely advocate for incorporating some flexibility in the schedule, but caution against throwing all routines completely out the window. Significant changes in schedule and routine can impact children’s behaviors and moods across all age ranges – it’s all about finding a balance. Here are some tips that we have found successful:

  • Preview the plan: Make sure your kids know the plan and if the plan changes talk about it. When plans change, children often don’t know what to expect and it can put them on edge and cause uncertainty. When we talk out the plan, children have an idea of what to expect and feel like they are a part of the plan and in control.
  • Sleeping Routines: Sticking to a consistent sleeping schedule makes it less likely that children will be fatigued, minimizing grumpy, hangry, and tantrum behavior.
    • Remember:
      • Toddlers need 11 to 14 hours of sleep 
      • PKers (age 3-4) need 10 to 13 hours of sleep
      • JKers (age 4+) and up need 9 to 12 hours of sleep
    • When possible, keep the bedtime routine as consistent as possible. Bring books, noise machines and lovies to the hotel room! 
  • Screen Limits:
    • Tablets and smartphones are quick and easy for when there are bumps on the road. 
    • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “limiting screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs while parents co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.”
  • Pack for Activities:
    • Instead of videos or shows, we can provide children with other kinds of activities for the car and once you arrive at your destination. 
    • Bring familiar indoor activities, such as board/card games, favorite books, or puzzles.

Social-Emotional Book Suggestions:

Literacy Recommendations:

Summer learning doesn’t have to mean a break from fun. There are lots of ways to incorporate fun and fresh air into the reinforcement of literacy skills at home. Here are a few tips for keeping reading a part of a balanced summer:

Make it fun

Playing games is one of the best ways to build skills and engagement. Check out these fun literacy games and activities. There are also many outdoor activities to boost literacy skills. Create a scavenger hunt that involves reading. For example, visit the zoo and have your child create a list of animals to find or have them read key facts about each animal.  Click here for additional outdoor activities.

Make a routine

Make daily reading a part of your family’s routine. Having “Family Reading Time” (reading at the same time everyday) is one of the ways to establish a routine.

Anything counts

Don’t hesitate if your child wants to read easy books, comic books, or listen to audiobooks. Books of all lengths, genres and topics help their development as a reader in different ways, and they all have value. Podcasts are another great way to expand vocabulary and broaden your child’s knowledge about different topics.

Go thematic

One way to make reading a bit more exciting for summer is to tie in books to summer vacation plans. Are you going hiking or camping? Dive into some wilderness and adventure stories! Do they like to help you in the garden? Have them read some nonfiction books about insects and plants. 

Keep it simple

Reading and writing can easily become an everyday activity at home. There are simple ways to include your child when you read recipes, greeting cards, calendars, shopping lists, food labels, instructions, maps, newspapers, emails, signs, weather forecasts, and websites. Check out IMSE’s Summer Reading Bingo for some more simple ideas to try this summer. To practice writing at home, have your child write labels for their artwork or toys, write a shopping list or add items to a list, or keep a board to write and read family messages.  

Math Games & Activities:

Math games are perfect for summer. Check out these fun and interactive games to help integrate math into summer: 

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