Parent to Parent: Making the Most of Summer For Your Child with LD
July 11, 2022
By Lorrie Goegan
“Having LD should never define who they are.”
School can be very challenging for a child with LD so, come summer, look for opportunities that allow your child to explore and shine in other areas.
Take advantage of those warm, sunny days to spend time outdoors. Does your child love to play basketball or ride a bike? Now is the time to develop those skills, either through formal programs or simply as a family or with friends. This is a perfect time to introduce new activities that haven’t been tried yet… such as learning to swim, kayaking or golf. It’s so important that kids with LD have the opportunity to discover the strengths that they have.
This is also a perfect time to take advantage of the pathways and trails that exist in many neighbourhoods as well as exploring interesting nearby communities. Lots of information can be found online that provide families with suggested walking or biking routes and other excursions. With high gas prices this summer, finding a favourite new nearby park or ice cream shop is a cost conscious way to enjoy a day outdoors. Letting your child plan the trip or create a map for the outing builds important skills as well as confidence.
Also, watch for local festivals and special events at galleries, libraries, community centres, etc. to further expand your children’s opportunities to develop new interests and skills. Not everything activity has to cost money.
Getting out and about is also a good way to combat some of the emotional stress that your child may have been experiencing this past school year. School can be very stressful, especially for our children with special needs, and time spent reconnecting to nature is so important.
So is reconnecting with family and friends. Friendships can often be particularly challenging for children with LD and COVID has created further barriers to those social interaction opportunities. With things reopening again and restrictions being lifted, this is a great time to have your child reconnect with friends they haven’t been able to spent time with during the pandemic.
Do you have a future scientist or astronomer in your family? The back yard is a great spot for some of those messy science experiments that kids love so much. The library or online sites can provide lots of ideas for experiments. And, star gazing at night may inspire a curiosity about the wider universe.
Outdoors is also the perfect venue for a variety of craft projects. Dollar stores and local craft stores have lots of reasonably priced materials for a budding sculptor, wood or paper project builder or Picasso. Water based paints are a safer choice than acrylics or oils, making for easy clean up after a project is done. Kids can simply experiment with the materials or follow along on youtube demos. And, crafting “plein air” means that the paints and other materials dry quickly.
What about starting a garden? Even those in condos can grow pots of plants or vegetables. There are a variety of seeds available at many local stores or you can stop by a garden centre that is now clearing out this year’s stock. We always look for brightly coloured flowers or plants such as strawberries or tomatoes that offer a quick, and often repeated, harvest.
Growing vegetables or fruits can also lead to learning to cook or bake, both important…and fun!… life skills. Following recipe instructions reinforces reading and math measurement skills without it seeming to be work. Best of all, there is the reward of something delicious to enjoy at the end.
And, in our family, reading skills are not ignored over the summer. Even though reading may be a real challenge for your child with LD, it is a skill that needs to be maintained…even while on vacation. During this time away from school where there was often a more structured reading program or book selection, focus on what your child would like to read. Re-reading an old familiar book that they enjoyed or sharing potential new favourites as a family read-aloud activity can bring new enjoyment to the reading process.
Summer definitely is not a time to simply survive before school resumes. Instead, you can make it a time to try a whole host of interesting activities while creating new family memories and, in the process, a lot of added confidence in your child with LD.
About the Author:
Lorrie Goegan, B.A., B. Ed, Cert Sp. Ed., is a longtime parent mentor and a past speaker at numerous provincial and national LD conferences. She is also the parent of an adult daughter with LD.