Executive Function Ideas for the Summer

      by Scott Lutostanski – Director of Academic Consulting

 

The summer months bring relaxation, downtime, and fun. Even with camps and jobs, students generally still have much more free time than they do during the school year. When it comes to executive function skills, students are able to shut off and build up a little rust. In order to keep students active and engaged with their executive function skills over the summer, families can implement a few small changes that will help students practice organizing, planning, and managing over the summer.

Make a list. Have everyone in the family write down a list of activities and fun that they hope to do over the summer. Figure out how to make these activities happen. Does the student want to go to Six Flags? A Brewers game? Rent a kayak on the lake? Make sure that all these activities are written down.

Use a calendar. In order to get all the activities in, use a calendar to manage time. Block off days when there is no free time, add in events where they fit, and make sure that every activity is planned for. By evaluating the remaining weeks in summer, students will have to analyze their time and find a realistic way of fitting them in.

Assign a project. Find an appropriate sized project for your child to do over the summer. It could be landscaping, chores around the house, painting, or something else. Make it a bigger project that they have to accomplish by the end of summer. This should give them the opportunity to manage a large project, plan out smaller steps, and work towards deadlines. These are the same skills they need in school.

Digital Organization. Some students spend nearly as much time online as they do offline nowadays. Summer is a good time to reset their organization online. Have your student go through their Google Drive, clean up errant files, and organize everything into folders. After a couple years of the same Google account, their Drive will be messy and have loose files all over. This is an easy, minimal task to get the mind working and help prepare for the upcoming school year.

The intended purpose of these suggestions is to get the student to use their executive function skills in a way they otherwise might not during the summer months. It may be challenging to get a student to use their free time on activities like this, but the time that they spend on these tasks will help keep the rust off during the summer.