Setting Summer Goals Helps Build Executive Functioning Skills
Summer is the time to relax and reflect. What went well this year? What could have been better? What can your child improve on for next year? These are good questions to discuss with your child. As you have this conversation make a list. Take a piece of paper and fold it so you have four sections: 2 columns and 2 rows. Write What I did well in as the header of one column and What was hard for me as the header of the second column. Now on the the first row you can list the subjects, sports, friendships, and projects that went well or were challenging. The header for both columns of the second rows is: My goals for next year. Help your child make goals for both the areas they are strong in as well as the areas that need growth.
Now that you have a clear idea of the areas to focus on, what can be worked on this summer? Don’t get too academic; rather consider the underlying skills that support the areas your child wants to do better in. If writing is an issue, strengthen typing skills, find a pen pal to make writing fun, sponsor a neighborhood newsletter and have other kids in the neighborhood write articles. If math is a challenge, create a weekly cooking lesson to help with measurement, use allowance and shopping to build money skills, find a fun computer math facts site to practice math facts.
Reading can be fun over the summer. Visit your library and see if they have a summer reading club, or create your own book club. My daughter has 2 book clubs and my son just started his book club. We have 8 nine-year old boys joined together for fun and reading. Book clubs are a great way to make reading fun.
How do all these activities build executive functioning skills? Simple. Making a goal, breaking it down to achievable steps, and following through to achieve those goals is really what executive functioning is all about. In the summer, those goals can be defined by the child rather than imposed by a teacher. Learning how to make goals, plan for them and succeed in achieving them is very important to children with executive functioning issues, so make sure the summer goals are realistic. Create timelines and checklists so your child can mark off each step he makes towards his goal. Self-esteem is created by success, so orchestrate the summer to allow your child succeed!