THE KAIZEN BLOG
June 2018 - SUMMER BREAK - A good time to continue to build executive functioning skills!
We all need a break to rest, rejuvenate and hit the reset button. However, summer break is an excellent opportunity to apply tools and strategies learned during the academic year to carry out non-academic tasks that may involve a little more fun.
Myth buster! Executive skills are not only relevant and used when there is a looming test or final essay to deal with. The same skills can be used to organize and plan an excursion, schedule daily events using a calendar, set reminders for daily/weekly chores (sadly, those still need to be done in July and August!), or researching multiple transportation schedules to get from A to B.
Here are a few suggestions for your child to practice and maximize their developing executive skills over the summer:
Organization of space: Use a rainy day to plan and organize a study zen space. Get rid of the OLD and bring in the NEW! File away old papers and recycle irrelevant materials. Purchase and set up new materials. Plan and decorate this new space so that it is welcoming with limited distractions. Instead of fighting back to school crowds in late August, take a stress free visit to purchase supplies.
Plan and organize a family/friend gathering: Delegate the planning and organization of a family gathering or friend hangout to your child. This could include: emailing/communications, follow up, calendar scheduling, purchasing food/drinks from a list, seating charts, food allergy lists, working within a budget etc. All the things you ‘naturally’ do to plan an event, likely still need to be practiced and learned by your child. The only way to do this? Experience!
Reading without stress: Some children love to read book after book all summer long….yeah, my sons DO NOT fit that profile. :) However, www.audible.com, my latest favorite app for reluctant readers can make reading more engaging and exciting. My boys still follow along with the actual physical book, but they simultaneously have the audio playing. I have found this increases their attention, engagement, enjoyment of reading and overall comprehension.
Organization of digital files, emails and downloads: Many students simply hit ‘save’ or ‘download’ throughout the school year, and don’t plan where their files are stored. Have them show you their email accounts and storage - you will likely see it’s an ongoing pit of ‘stuff.’ Take 15 mins a day to have them begin sorting: file creation, organizing, deleting, and returning overdue emails.
Travel & transportation scheduling: Bus and train schedules, airport departures and arrivals, timing of transfers - these all require exceptional executive skills. If your child is old enough, have them plan a bus/train trip (including transfers) from one end of the city to the other. If your child has never taken a bus or train and is now driving a car, have them take on this challenge for a week. They’ll appreciate their car and you even more! :)
The more consistent we are with helping our students build executive function skills year-round, the more successes we see. Consistency with new habits is a crucial element to transformations in behavior. When we are consistent in building these skills, we see momentum leading to healthy habits. Progressive and continuous improvement - skills for life and learning - this is the Kaizen way!