Center for Pediatric: Summertime Prep

Kids Health The Newsletter About Taking Care Of The Ones That Matter Most

Summer, 2018

“Allow Vacationing To Be A Smooth Experience!” 5 WAYS TO PREPARE CHILDREN FOR SUMMER VACATION

As excited as most kids are about summer break, it can actually be a difficult time of year for adolescents and teens (let alone their parents). One plausible explanation? Summer generally comes with a precipitous change (or drop) in routine. Kids sleep in longer and stay up later, they have more free time on their hands, and there’s an apparent emphasis (or at least an attitude) on “play” instead of disciplined, procedure- oriented “learning.” While these changes aren’t bad per se, they can make the transition from school mornings to summer mornings a bit stressful. And since both research and real-world experience show routines help children build healthy social and emotional well-being and foster a developmentally appropriate sense of security and self- control, it’s no wonder drastic schedule changes can be so trying. But does this mean we have to “busy” our children to the brim during their three months off? Likely no, but striking the right balance can be tricky. To help your children (and your family unit as a whole) physically and emotionally adjust to the changing pace and daily to-do’s of summer vacation, consider the following suggestions.

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Kids Health The Newsletter About Taking Care Of The Ones That Matter Most

Summer, 2018

“Do You Know How to Prepare Your Child To Travel?” 5 WAYS TO PREPARE CHILDREN FOR SUMMER VACATION


• What Are Executive Function Skills?

• Healthy Recipe

• Writing A Review Is Just A Click Away

1. Create a summer advent calendar. In the same way that counting down the days to Christmas can help kids get excited about the up-coming holiday, counting down the days to summer can be a fun way to focus on the positive aspects of summer without getting too bogged down by academic- and social-related anxieties which are common toward the end of the year. 2. Touch base with the parents of your kids’ friends. Depending on how old your children are, you may need to help them stay connected with their friends over the summertime, especially since this loss of social contact can be worrisome for many kids. Chat with other parents about your schedules, arrange for outings and play dates, and consider offering mutually beneficial exchanges (e.g., baby sitting days or nights) so social time is easier for you and your kids. 3. Plan a handful of “big” summer activities to look forward to, but leave plenty of room for unstructured time. Every child loves to learn about things they’re interested in. So talk to your kids about the types of activities they really want to do—whether that’s going to a summer camp, taking an art class, learning a new sport, or even participating in some sort of volunteer or paid job. Schedule and talk about any planned family vacations, as well—and make sure to give your kids ample time for spontaneous, unstructured play. Not only can this help your kid avoid feeling overwhelmed, but it may also help them develop more sophisticated social skills, too (some researchers suggest the general trend toward more screen time/less playtime is making our children less empathetic).

4. Establish reading-oriented routines. Most school-aged children are assigned books to read over the summer, and for a good reason: kids are at risk for losing reading skills over the summer months.To groove the habit of regular reading (and mitigate the effects of so-called “summer slide”), it’s helpful to initiate certain reading routines during the school year and continue these routines into the summer. A literary anchor of cognitive stability, so to say, that isn’t contingent on daily homework assignments (which, unless your kid is enrolled in a summer school program, are noticeably absent in June, July, and August). Some suggestions? Start taking a weekly or bi-weekly trip to the library, or establish one to two “reading nights” per week where everyone in the family reads after dinner instead of immediately plugging back into a television or smart phone. 5. Consider your child’s individual personality, temperament, and preferences. Whether your children are typically developing or differently- abled, each one brings a lot of individuality to the equation of what kind of summer schedule will be best-suited for them. So before the school year ends, ask yourself and your children some questions, such as: “If this summer was the best summer ever, what sort of things would you do, learn, or see?” “Can you describe your perfect summer day?” Even talking to them about the upcoming school year—their teachers, classes, goals, etc.—may help bridge the gap between the long stretch of known and unknown.


Certainly, you’ve heard of executive functioning, but what exactly is it? Executive functioning skills are the set of cognitive skills that regulate and control abilities and behaviors, such as motor skills, memory and attention. These skills also assist with helping to manage, organize, plan and retrieve information. When there is no pathology, the brain automatically executes these skills. High Executive Function and Low Executive Function High executive function encompasses a wide variety of skills like using the senses to gather information, implementing problem-solving strategies, initiating and stopping behavior and actions and anticipating possible consequences. The ability to initiate and stop actions may involve acting appropriately in a given situation. Managing time may include not procrastinating and understanding the consequences of not doing things in a timely manner. Ifan individualhas lowexecutivefunction, itmaybeachallenge toplanand carry out tasks. Often, this type of individual is unable to stay on task and is just overwhelmed. These types of deficits may have comorbid issues, but often include diagnoses like depression, autism, attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities. These types of functioning deficits often run in families. Low executive function makes learning difficult, and there may even be a problem with verbal fluency. There may also be social problems in both children and adults who have low executive function. Because they don’t have the capability to think things out, they may make inappropriate comments and have difficulty interacting with others. Working with a physical therapist can help increase low executive function. For children with low executive function, physical therapy will often include the use of toys. Toys like large hop balls are used in physical

therapy to improve upper body strength and improve motor planning and coordination skills. Toys like the Jabbit might be used to improve attention, focus and motor planning. It’s an effective catch and toss game that a physical therapist may use. A physical therapist will also give ideas for game playing at home to improve low executive function, such as riding a scooter around the neighborhood or playing a game of cards. If you suffer from low executive function or know someone who does, physical therapy just may be one of the keys to improving it. Learn to increase inattention, plan a before and after and engage better with others. Physical therapy is an effective treatment for low executive function according to the APTA. Healthy Recipe Coconut Caramel Popcorn INGREDIENTS • 1/3 cup French Vanilla Coconut Creamer • 1/2 cup unpopped kernels • 1/2 cup vegan butter • 3 Tbsp agave nectar, amber • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon • 1/4 tsp salt • 1/4 cup dried coconut flakes, unsweetened, toasted • 1 tsp vanilla INSTRUCTIONS Pop favorite popcorn from yellow corn kernels over stove top or use favorite microwave popcorn brand. Spread on baking sheet and set aside. In a saucepan, melt vegan spread and stir in the agave, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until dissolved.Take the pan off the heat and slowly whisk in the creamer until well combined. Return to heat, and continue to whisk for 10 minutes or until sauce reaches an amber color and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in coconut flakes and vanilla. Let cool slightly before drizzling overpopcorn.Drizzlemixtureoverpopcornandblend inwithaspatula.Serve immediately.

*This recipe is shared courtesy of So Delicious Dairy Free.


Center for Pediatric Therapies values each of our patients and believes that every child is truly special. We invite you to share your child’s experience with CPT by leaving us a review on Facebook. Simply log onto Facebook, visit our page @centerforpediatrictherapies then click Reviews to tell people what you think. We’d love to hear how physical, occupational, and speech therapy have impacted your child’s life.

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“I love when my son’s PT comes for our home visits. She gives me good tips & for helping him especially since he has to wear braces for his legs & we take things step by step. I love it & with him I see more growth & he should be walking soon.” - RR, Parent of CPT child


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