As parents, we want our kids to have a summer full of fun memories and the best childhood experiences. But we also worry about making sure they’re ready for the next school year. So how do you choose? Thankfully, you don’t have to. Here’s how your kids can have a fantastic summer break while also giving you confidence that they’re ready for their next school year.

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School Readiness That Matters

We tend to fall into marketing traps because we want our children to be successful. One problem with this focus is that we suffer from a lack of clarity about school readiness. Research shows that teachers want children to have some academic learning before they start school and it’s important to follow teacher recommendations for specific learning or tutoring support, if needed. However, the majority of research indicates that it is far more helpful if children are equipped with the appropriate social and emotional skills for their age of development.

Kindergarten

  • Cope with separation anxiety
  • Know how to cooperate with their teacher
  • Able to play cooperatively with other children

1st Grade

  • Holding attention for longer periods of time
  • Be able to communicate basic emotions in preparation for expressing empathy

2nd-5th Grade

  • Solve more complex social problems, like conflicts with others, while receiving support from caregivers
  • Building and collaborating with other children or adults
  • Responding empathically to the needs of others

Fostering School Readiness

Let Them Play

Instead of focusing on new learning and educational tools during the summer, focus on allowing your child to play. This can be guided time with you, other children, or other adults. Allow your child to foster interests in things that matter to them. Through play, children learn collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creative innovation, and gain content knowledge and confidence.

Sittercity has a new offering called Adventures. Sitters to engage children in an interesting, but intentional way that allows them to have fun and explore new things. Your child can choose from a number of Adventures that are aligned with their interests and help them create meaningful experiences before they go to school.

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Focus on the Present

Another problem with the focus on school readiness is that it can steal our ability to enjoy our children as they are now. At times, I find myself worrying if my daughter is in the same place as her peers. This prevents me from seeing all the amazing things she can do and enjoying the learning process with her. If we’re not careful, our anxiety about child growth takes away our ability to enjoy the actual growing process. However you choose to spend time with your child, focus on the present moment with them. Let them show you what excites them about their world. If they have a particular interest, allow them to show you what they understand about it. Take time to read to them, go out in nature, color, or whatever fascinates them at the time. Encourage other important adults in their lives to do the same.

Make Memories Together

When you think about your childhood, it’s likely that very few of your memories are about the things you learned through flashcards or workbooks. Instead, you probably have memories of time spent in nature, going to the beach, playing on playgrounds, and interacting with the people you loved. The same will be true for your child. They’ll remember the ways you let them play, create and be imaginative. They will remember their favorite family members who taught them new hobbies. They’ll remember that babysitter who introduced them to something really cool. When they go to school, they will have the skills necessary to listen to another adult, practice independence from you, and learn from their teacher.

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