How To Help Your Child Improve This Summer
With the summer upon us and new life styles put into perspective due to COVID-19 and resolution for self‑improvement in hand, ask any parent or teacher and their goal is to “do better”.
Parents and educators both ask, “What’s going on with our children?” and “What does it look like to do better?”
As parents, we want to turn over a fresh leaf and support our children in moving toward independence in their day-to-day activities. Educators also hope to take a fresh look at their next year’s classrooms and aim to motivate and develop independence in learning styles.
Can your unique learner improve his or her learning skills, even though school is out? Yes! In fact, summer provides an ideal opportunity to work on these foundational skills. Without the daily stress of reading, writing and mathematics, you can improve your child’s learning readiness in ways that feel like play. We need to use a different metric when considering their progress.
Keep your expectations for yourself and your child simple. But, by all means, do have expectations and goals to help your child build on learning skills in a non‑academic and non‑competitive home environment.
Our children, and especially our children who are unique learners, need to be better understood. These students may be low in some foundational abilities and need to learn to adjust the information around them, recognize patterns, and consider alternative explanations before selecting the most likely. This type of problem‑solving not only needs to occur when performing reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also on the playground and when driving home from school with siblings.
It is important to remember that your unique learner should view activities as fun and games, not chores that need to be done.
Strategies To Try
Exercises for the vestibular system:
- Wobble boards
- Rolling on the floor or down a hill
- Horseback riding
- Balancing on an exercise ball
Exercises for the proprioceptive system:
- Marching with pounding feet
- Pretending to be in a marching band or a toy soldier are fun games
- Helping with heavy chores
- Washing the car, raking or sweeping, vacuuming are good examples
- Wall, chair or floor pushups
- Start small and slow, they aren’t trying out for the Olympics
- Tossing a weighted bean bag. This requires a gentle partner and a ball or beanbag weight appropriate to the age of the child (big brother might not be the best tossing partner).
- Seated chair pressups. These are done by sitting on a chair and placing your hands beside you flat on the chair, then lifting your bottom off the chair with your hands.
- Make a sandwich. No, not the eating kind – play a game where the child lays on the ground between two cushions. Gently “roll” the cushions on your child, pretending to be squishing the cheese into the right spot.
- Pushing or carrying something heavy. This should be heavy enough that they have to work to carry it, but not so heavy as to hurt themselves. This could be pushing a chair or a grocery cart. Carrying could involve helping bring groceries in, moving rocks in the yard, or carrying a milk jug.
Feel free to be creative in making up games or exercises of your own. What you are trying to accomplish is movement that allows the body to feel the earth’s gravitational pull or activities that help develop a strong awareness of the body, arms and legs.
For more tips and ideas you can purchase my book Unique Learner Solutions by clicking HERE!