How to Conquer Summer Goals with Your Child

“I’m bored!” she groaned.

Those are the two words every mother cringes to hear throughout the summer from their kids. For us, this was the first day of summer! How is she already bored?

“I miss my friends,” she announced.  “But you just saw them yesterday!” I replied. 

I knew right then and there I needed a plan in place.  There was no way I was going to let her sleep in until noon, let her lay around watching TV and eat bonbons all day. 

As a school educator, I know it’s very important for kids to maintain their educational skills to avoid the summer slump.

Children learn best when instruction is continuous. The long summer vacation breaks the rhythm of instruction, leads to forgetting, and requires a significant amount of review of material when students return to school in the fall. 

Research shows children’s tests scores are at least one month lower when they return to school in the fall than scores are when students left in the spring.

A troubling thought, isn’t it?

With that in mind, maintaining your child’s educational skills will set them up for success in the fall.

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In this post, I’m going to walk you through a plan to keep your child active physically and mentally.

The First Step to Our Summer Plan

Just like with anyone, your child’s day will dwindle away with nothing to show for it with no plan in place.  By the end of summer, you’ll have no idea where the time went and nothing will have been accomplished. 

This is why creating long term summer goals for your child is so important. 

One of my daughters struggles with reading books that are longer in length.  She prefers to read books that are quick and easy.  One of her goals is to read three books that are either at or slightly above her reading level.

My other daughter loves to read but detests math. 

Retaining what she learned throughout the school year will set her up for success in fall.  Her goal will be to complete the recommended IXL math sections with at least a score of 80.

Our school district uses IXL Math throughout the year and encourages practice during the summer.  IXL (from “I excel”) is a math & language arts practice website for K-12 grade levels (subscription-based). 

Whatever goals you select together, make sure they are challenging yet reachable.

You might be asking yourself how am I going to motivate my child to accomplish these goals? The answer lies in the reward!

But, here’s the catch. 

The reward has to be big enough and your child has to buy into the plan.  He/she needs to be involved in the selection of the reward. 

I will warn you. 

The older your child generally the bigger the reward needs to be to entice them to reach their goal.

When we sat down and talked to our daughters about our summer plan (yes there were some eye rolls) we created goals and rewards for each of them.

They each created math and reading goals for the summer. Since they chose “high ticket” items for rewards we agreed they had to reach both math and reading goals in order to earn the reward.

Now I’ll show you exactly how your child will achieve their Summer Goals.

The Second Step to Our Summer Plan

Our second plan of attack is to fill out a Daily Summer Plan.  Here’s what the daily plan includes.

Something for my body

Dedicate this time to some form of exercise. 

This can include swim team practice, playing basketball, a bike ride, walk, hike, etc.  The possibilities are endless.

Something for my brain

Your child will spend a predetermined amount of time either reading and/or working on educational skills. 

This year we will use the online IXL program. Another great option is Summer Bridge workbooks. Summer Bridge workbooks are grade-level specific and cover all academic areas.

Something for my family

This time is set aside for weekly chores and/or helping a family member with a project around the house. 

Something for my “dog

What?

In all seriousness, this is a must for our family.  Recently we moved into town and no longer live on acreage.  Providing exercise for our dog is a necessity

Our daughters are required to exercise our dog by either walking/running her around the neighborhood, playing fetch with her in the park, etc.

This section will be left blank for you to determine what is helpful for your family or you may leave it blank. 

How I’ll celebrate

This is another crucial step.

Take time to determine what will motivate your child daily to accomplish the three to four tasks.  Get creative and have fun with this section.

For our family, internet access is what motivates our kids. 

Maybe video games, a trip to your local bakery, or arranging a play date with a friend is what motivates your child.   The possibilities are endless and every day can have a different reward! 

How do the two plans work together?

Your child may have academic goals and/or athletic goals they want to reach.  The key is to choose daily tasks that help them reach their summer goals.

I’ll show you a few examples:

Something for my brain = 30 minutes reading
Summer goal = reading 3 challenging books

Something for my body = 30 minutes swimming 
Summer goal =  beating personal record on 50-meter breaststroke by 10 seconds

Something for my brain = 30 minutes practicing times tables on tablet app  Summer goal = memorize 1-12 times tables

Having Summer Goals and a Daily Summer Plan in place with rewards tied to them creates a win-win situation for you and your child.  It gives your child purpose and helps him/her reach their goals instilling a growth mindset for the future. As Tim Fargo accurately stated:

“Who you are tomorrow begins with what you do today.”

It brings a smile to my face knowing as I write this post the TV is off and my oldest is working on “doing something for her brain!”  It’s a sweet sound to hear “I’m done!

Don’t let the days of summer slip through your fingers. Download the My Summer Goals and Daily Summer Plan and get started with your child today!

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