Set Kids Up For A Successful Summer

Jun 09, 2024

As we get closer to the end of the school year and the start of summer — with extra activities and schedule changes — are you experiencing more behavior issues with your child?  

This is an issue that I often see come up this time of year.  Parents are showing up for coaching meetings in a bit of a panic because the outbursts are unpredictable and seem to be ramping up.  I had one mom reach out with a ‘911’ call because both of her boys had escalated and the slightest things were sending them both over the edge.  Things had been going well, and she was at a loss as to what happened and what to do.

The first thing that I told the Mom was that it’s completely normal for many kids to struggle during times of transition.  It’s common to see behavior issues and outbursts when kids’ routines change or they have an upcoming transition like the end of the school year and the start of summer.

I explained that “safety” is the biggest instinctual driver for all humans, and for kids that equates to predictability, routines, and control.  Changes to their routines, extra activities on their schedule, and upcoming new experiences can trigger their nervous system, and make them feel and act out of control. 

When kids know what to expect they feel safer and their nervous system is calmer.  When they feel like they have some control over what’s happening in their lives, they act more in control.

So what do you do as a parent to help support your child through changes in their routine and set them up for a successful summer?  You help prepare them in advance as much as you can and you provide other opportunities for them to feel like they’re in control.

For the families I support whose kids are struggling this time of year, I recommend mapping out each week with a weekly calendar.  Make sure that any changes to routine are noted on the calendar, along with anything that needs to be done in advance so kids know what to expect throughout the week.

If you have an upcoming vacation or your child is going to summer camp, I suggest you start preparing your kids ahead of time to set them up for success.  

The changes in routine can also mean more work for parents to prepare.  So I recommend parents giving kids some responsibility for any needed preparations for an upcoming trip, or asking them to help with other jobs to keep things running smoothly during this busy time.  Having responsibilities for jobs and pitching in to help keeps kids focused, and it gives them the sense of control that they need to calm their nervous system as they prepare for a transition.

For example, if they’re going to be traveling on a plane for the first time, talk to your kids about what it will be like and what they can expect.  Find something to put them in charge of to help give them a sense of control.  This will calm their nervous system and avoid unexpected meltdowns. If they know that they are responsible for knowing what gate the plane is at and helping to find it, they’re more likely to stay focused on that and be more cooperative.

By preparing kids in advance, giving them jobs, and enrolling them in tasks to keep things running smoothly, you help set them up for a successful summer and you keep your sanity as a parent!

If your kids are really struggling with big feelings, outbursts, and big behaviors that are creating a negative dynamic for your family and you don’t know what to do, I can help!  I specialize in helping parents navigate through big feelings and big behaviors.  Visit to find out how I work with parents and schedule a call to find out how I can help.

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