Tag Archives: Summer

Splish Splash Safety: Tips for Keeping Your Child Safe Around Water This Summer

swimWater activities are a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the hot summer months. Whether it’s time spent at the pool, a lake, or a fun day at the beach, there are many opportunities for children of all ages to enjoy water activities. It is important, however, to remember that water can be dangerous, and drowning is preventable. Here are some important tips on how to keep children safe around water.

Supervision: Watch children when they are in or around water – even if there is a lifeguard around. If many adults are present, choose one designated person to supervise without distractions. This will assure that an adult is watching at all times without assuming that someone else is watching.

Pool Safety:
• Fence: Install a fence around home pools. The fence should be at least 4 feet high with gates that are self-closing and self-latching. The latch should be placed as high as possible so that young children cannot reach it, and the gate should completely surround the pool, separating it from the house.
• Access: Whether you have an inflatable or above ground pool, make sure to remove any access to the pool (such as a ladder) when not in use. Additionally, remove any furniture that can be used to climb into the pool.
• Toys: When toys are not in use, be sure to remove them from the pool, as they can attract small children.
• Cover: Keep the pool covered when not in use. Make sure the pool cover is on securely to avoid danger of a child falling into the pool and being trapped underneath the cover.

Swimming lessons: The American Academy of Pediatrics supports swimming lessons for most children age 4 years or older. In younger children (ages 1-4) swimming classes may reduce the risk of drowning, but as children develop at different rates, no age specific recommendations are made.

Swimming partner: For adolescents that know how to swim, make sure that they always have a swimming partner with them, whether at the pool, lake or the ocean. Never allow them to swim (even with a partner) without a lifeguard around.

Know what to do in the case of an Emergency. If a child is missing, check the water first and call 911 if needed. Parents, caregivers and pool owners would benefit from learning CPR, as it may help save a child’s life.

When it comes to water safety, prevention is key! Be safe, and have fun in the water!

hassFrom the Real Experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Doreen Benary, MD, is a pediatric emergency medicine physician and clinical instructor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Beat the Heat: Tips to Keep Your Child Safe from Heat Related Illness This Summer

heatAs temperatures rise and we find ourselves spending more time outdoors with children this summer, it’s important to remember that high temperatures and too much time in the heat can have negative effects on your child’s body. Here are some tips on preventing heat related illness in children.

HYDRATION:  Staying hydrated is one of the most important things we can do to prevent heat related illness. It is essential to give your child water frequently while they are outside on a hot day. Many children may not ask for water while they are playing outdoors, but it’s important to provide children with water even if they don’t ask for it. Additional and frequent hydration with water or sports beverages is especially crucial while children are playing sports or exercising. Infants less than 6 months of age should not be given water, but they can be given extra breastmilk or formula to keep them hydrated.

SUN PROTECTION: Protecting your children from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays is also important. Dress your child in lightweight and light-colored clothing. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses can offer additional protection. Keep children in the shade as much as possible and try to avoid exposure to direct sunlight on very hot days, especially during the sun’s most intense hours (between 10 AM and 4 PM).

Apply sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 to any areas of your child’s skin that are not protected by clothing. Using sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” or UVA/UVB protection is ideal. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before going outdoors.  Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on cloudy days as well, as the sun’s rays are still present.

Infants less than 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible. If you do take young infants outdoors, be sure to keep their skin protected with lightweight clothing and a hat and to keep them in the shade. You can apply a small amount of sunscreen to your infant’s exposed skin if needed.

STAY COOL: Staying indoors in a location with air conditioning is a great way to beat the heat on days when temperatures are extremely high. If you do not have air conditioning available in your home, think about going to a public location such as a library, museum, or mall. This is a great way to engage in a fun activity for the day while still staying cool. Additionally, a cool bath or shower may help cool your child down on a hot day.

MONITOR: While prevention is the key, it is also important to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If your child exhibits any of these signs or symptoms, speak to your child’s pediatrician or take them to be evaluated by a physician immediately.

•Dizziness
•Nausea
•Vomiting
•Headache
•Weakness
•Fatigue
•Confusion
•High body temperature
•Muscle Cramps

Following these tips will ensure a fun and healthy summer and will help you beat the heat!

hassFrom the Real Experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Kavita Patel, MD, is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Summer Socializing: How to Help Your Child Make Friends Over Summer Break

summer-friendsAs with times tables, proper spelling, and other academic skills, social skills can decline over summer vacation if children sit at home for months and ignore them. Yet, just as summer school and intensive tutoring in July and August can help kids catch up to their peers academically by September, so too can summertime be used for strengthening kids’ social skills and increasing their circle of friends before the new school year begins.

For children who struggle to make friends during the school year, the summer can be a valuable time to break free from their school-based social circles and form positive relationships with a variety of other peers. Follow these steps to learn how to maximize your child’s chance of success:

Choose the right activity.
Children are most likely to succeed in making friends when they are engaged in an activity that they love. While you might desperately want your video game-loving kid to get some exercise this summer, soccer camp is probably a poor choice if your child can’t stand organized sports. Crying or complaining about the activity is unlikely to attract new friends!

Play to your child’s strengths. What does your son or daughter talk about the most? If your daughter talks non-stop about animals, a nature program is where she’s most likely to find friends who share her passion. There are camps and classes out there for everything – coding, cooking, science, and movie-making camps are all alternatives to traditional sports and swimming summer programs.

Make sure the activity meets often.
Although it might seem like other kids make friends during chance meetings on the playground, these are unlikely to turn into lasting relationships without thoughtful follow-up. Even if your son enjoys splashing around in the pool with a boy he’s just met, it would be hard for him to turn that one-time interaction into a genuine friendship without repeated contact. Friendships tend to form over time when there are repeated opportunities to play together. If your child isn’t attending a daily camp program, try to ensure that the activities she’s enrolled in meet at least once per week to increase the odds that she’ll form a connection.

Identify potential friends.
Kids who struggle to form peer relationships often find it hard to identify potential friends. Even when they do report friendships, parents sometimes can’t help but wonder if the feeling is mutual. When possible, watch your child at the end of a program to see with whom she gets along well. If you can’t watch or if you find it difficult to tell, ask the group leader. Teachers and camp counselors are usually excited about helping facilitate new friendships and are likely to have good insight.

Make the first move.
Once you’ve figured out who might be receptive to an invitation from your child, approach the parents at pick up time or ask the group leader for contact information and call them. Suggest a specific activity and date.

Remember that parents and children often have busy summer vacation schedules, so it might be hard to set a time. Remember, there are many possible reasons that your playdate idea might be rejected! If unsuccessful at first, try again with a different family.

For an older child or teenager, help her brainstorm the activity and encourage her to ask peers herself, as those out of elementary school rarely have adults coordinate their get-togethers. If she’s nervous, role play with her until she feels more comfortable. Remember to rehearse staying calm and shrugging it off if the peer says no.

Keep playdates short and planned.
To help reduce the likelihood that kids will become bored with each other or get into an argument, first playdates should be short and sweet. Aim for two hours or less.

Inviting the child to your home with a vague plan to play can be a great choice once the friendship is established, but it’s not the best move for a first playdate. It might be hard for the kids to choose an activity, and the playdate could quickly become boring or contentious. Instead, choose a specific activity that you know both kids enjoy. Activities such as watching a specific movie or completing a craft project can take place in your home, while visiting a children’s museum or a zoo are good options for outings.

Have realistic expectations.
Summer programs can be a great way for your child to improve his social skills and make friends, but remember that summer vacation lasts only a few months. Celebrate small victories, such as a single successful get-together with a friend or even the exchange of social media usernames. If your child’s summer buddy doesn’t turn into a year-round pal, that’s okay. Even a short friendship is worthwhile if it helps your kid feel less lonely and learn new skills for the next friendship. There’s always next summer!

Does your child have social communication difficulties? The Child Study Center’s Social Learning Program offers a wide array of social skills group therapy services for children as young as 3 through young adults up to age 35. Groups are appropriate for individuals with social communication difficulties related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, depression, or other challenges. Both children and parents participate in separate weekly groups that run concurrently for 12-16 weeks. Clinical faculty and staff use evidence-based interventions based on research that shows positive long-term outcomes. For more information about our social skills group sessions in Manhattan, please contact our Social Learning Program intake team at 646-754-5284 or email csc.sociallearning@nyumc.org.

hassFrom the Real Experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:

Arielle Walzer, MA, PsyM, is a psychology extern in Autism Spectrum Disorder service at the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone. Rebecca Shalev, PhD, BCBA, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone.

Ultimate Guide to Mets Citi Field With Kids

Kidz Central Station @ NY Mets Citi Field

Baseball was my favorite sport as a child and I loved a day at the ballpark. However, visiting the ballpark with my two young  and very different kids is not easy.  My 3rd grader loves baseball from first pitch to last. My 1st grader is happy until his hot dog is eaten and water has spilled all over his shirt…so 1 ½ innings. 

This is why I am so excited about the New York Mets game plan for Sunday home games in 2018.  “Family Sundays with the Mets” includes 2 hours of pre-game kid-focused activities, a promotional giveaway, and an appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Met.  At the end of the game, kids 12 and under are even invited to run the bases in the Mr. Met Dash.  An entire day at the ballpark filled with family friendly fun?  Sounds like a hit for kids and parents.

Pre-Game Activities at Citi Field

We had tickets for Sunday, May 20th – NY Mets Vs. Arizona D-backs.  Arizona was in 1st place in the NL West but the Mets were looking to sweep the weekend series.  We were pumped for this matchup! Outfitted in our Mets gear, we hopped the 7 train to Citi Field in Queens, a 45 minute trip from Madison Square Park.

Kidz Central Station @ NY Mets Citi Field

 

 

Two hours before Sunday game time, Mets Plaza in front of the main entrance is full of carnival games, skills games, inflatables, face painting, arts and crafts, balloon artists, and other kids activities. It is a music-blasting party atmosphere. In other words, my “I want to go home” six year old was immediately engaged.

Smart play, Mets!

 

 

Kidz Central Station @ NY Mets Citi Field

 

 

 

Arriving early, among the first 15,000 fans, ensures you one of the cool giveaways (a plastic bat for this game). Plan now for these upcoming key games and cool giveaways: June 3rd vs Cubs (an on trend fanny pack) or June 10th vs Yankees (Jeurys Familia Fathead) or June 24th vs Dodgers (Mets Cap).

 

 

 

 

Kidz Central Station @ NY Mets Citi Field

 

 

My kids enjoyed EVERY game of the pre-game activities!  They practiced their hockey shot and  tested their pitching strength. They played basketball toss, magic ball, tic tac toe, ring toss, and wiffle ball. We got a family photo with Mrs. Met.  “Is that a girl?” my little one kept asking.  We watched a Tae Kwon Do class give a demonstration.  Of note, the area never felt crowded, which made the whole experience pleasant. 

 

 


Kidz Tips

  • Tickets start at $15/person (children 32″ and under are free!)
  • Arrive early to sample all the games and snap your photos at the Home Run Apple in front of Citi Field
  • Take the 7 train or LIRR to Mets/Willets Point Station
  • Utilize the Uber Pickup zone on 126th St

 

Inside The Ballpark & Fan FestKidz Central Station @ NY Mets

After a fun filled hour of outside play, we were ready for the ballpark.  The kids were swinging their free plastic bats. We grabbed Nathan’s trusty hot dogs, nachos, and ice cream before heading to our seats on the 1st base side on field level (section 109).  We settled into our seats, ate our food, and watched the 1st inning. Every seat at Citi Field offers a great view of the game. Still, my younger one was ready to go home by the top of the 2nd.

This was the right moment to visit Good Humor Fan Fest on the field level beyond center field.  Walk across the concourse, over Shea Bridge, and enter this food court and kids playground area.

Kiz Central Station @ NY Mets CIti FIeld

Games include a dry dunk tank with the opposing team’s “fan” (my sporty 9 year old dunked him to much applause), wiffle ball batting practice, and tee ball in a mini Citi Field.  You can get a photo with Mr. Met and Mrs. Met again.  Several Kids Club representatives are here to help you (read more below).

Kidz Central Station @ NY Mets Citi Field

 

Fan Fest is open until the mid-7th inning, and we hung out here for four full innings. There is a large tv screen so you can keep your eyes on the game. FYI , Shea Bridge is a fantastic viewing area for the game and a perfect meet-up location if you have friends attending the same game but sitting elsewhere as we did. Restaurants in this area include Papa Rosso, Blue Smoke, Box Frites, and Shake Shack.  The kids had pizza and flavored icees while my husband and I tried spicy fried chicken sandwiches at David Chang’s Fuku outpost.  We could stay here all day!

 


Kidz Tips

  • Diaper changing tables are in all concourse restrooms
  • There are 15 Family Restrooms
  • Visit the Mamava Station for nursing moms on Empire Suite Level
  • $7.00 Kids’ Meal including a Nathan’s hot dog, popcorn, juice box, and prize is available at the concession stand behind Section 121 on the Field Level
  • Go to the Bullpen Gate on 126th St after the game to line up for the Mr. Mets Dash

 

Family Sundays with the Mets is a Home-run

 Kidz Central Station @ NY Mets Citi Field

We are happy to call Family Sundays a win!   After Fan Fest, we went back to our seats for the 7th inning.  Just in time to watch the Mets seal the game with back to back homers!  The longest we’d lasted at a baseball game before this was 4 innings at Camden Yards and Yankee Stadium was a huge bust.  Very impressive because we were exhausted from the day’s activities. Unfortunately, we didn’t hold out for the Mr. Mets Dash, but my older son knew a school friend in attendance with his little league team who did the dash.  He loved that experience, of course. We will definitely be back for a day at Citi Field.

Let’s go Mets!

 

Mr. Met’s Kids Club

Family Sunday activities are for all ticket holders.  But, there are extra perks if you sign up for one of the Mr. Met Kids Club membership packages.  This is a great deal for your little Mets Fans!  We are signing up as we had a great day and want to go to a Brooklyn Cyclones game next.

  • All-Star Membership  – $35 Four (4) complimentary tickets* located in Promenade Outfield seating that can be used for a select game
  • MVP Membership – $55  Four (4) complimentary tickets located in Baseline Box seating on the Field Level that can be used for a select game

Each membership includes:

  • 2 BOGO ticket offers
  • 1 complimentary scoreboard message
  • 4 complimentary Brooklyn Cyclones tickets
  • Access to Mr. Met’s Kids Club ticket offers
  • “Passport” with barcode and lanyard for check-in.  Passport allows fast pass access to the Mr. Met Dash.  In addition, earn prizes (autographed player cards, Kids Club hat or jersey) by checking-in at the game with Passport.
  • Drawstring Bag, Pencil Case, Bookmark, Door Tag, Pair of Wristbands

Note:  Kidz Central Station was offered promotional tickets by the Mets organization. This did not affect the author’s review.

 

The Top 5 Summer Emergencies and What to Do (Part 5 of 5)

bugsWarmer weather invites activities and adventures. But what happens when things go awry? In this special five-part series, the real experts at NYU Langone Medical Center provide valuable tips to serve as your guide. Part 5:

Bug Bites

When outdoors in the summer, avoid areas where insects are more likely to be present, such as areas with stagnant water, uncovered food, or flowers in bloom. Dress your children in long sleeves and pants, avoid brightly colored clothing, and use insect repellent to help prevent bites or stings. For those with severe allergies, always carry an Epipen, if one is prescribed, when traveling to places where you might be stung. Before leaving for any outdoor activities, check to make sure that it is not expired.

Bug bites and/or stings should always be cleaned to help prevent infection. Seek medical treatment if the site of the bite is warm, tender, growing in size, is getting more painful, or, if there is any red streaking, which is a warning of a serious infection.

Dress your child in long sleeves and pants when hiking to prevent ticks. If your child does get a tick bite, do not squeeze the tick to try to get it out. This could actually cause more saliva to be released and could cause an infection. The tick should be removed with tweezers by someone who has experience to ensure that the mouth parts that are attached to the skin are completely removed. After identifying a tick bite, watch for signs of a bullseye rash or fever, which could signal Lyme disease. Call your child’s doctor if you can’t remove the tick or the tick’s head, your child develops fever or rash within 2 weeks after the bite, if the bite looks infected, or if you have any other concerns.

When choosing an insect repellent, look for products such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. With regards to tick repellents, DEET products can be used, but permethrin products–a synthetic insect repellent–are applied to clothing, and are more effective against ticks compared to DEET. Most insect repellents are safe to use on children older than 2 months of age. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children younger than 3 years of age. Products containing more than 30% DEET are not recommended for children. Do not reapply insect repellents due to the risk of toxicity.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.

 

The Top 5 Summer Emergencies and What to Do (Part 4 of 5)

campfireWarmer weather invites activities and adventures. But what happens when things go awry? In this special five-part series, the real experts at NYU Langone Medical Center provide valuable tips to serve as your guide. Part 4:

Burns

Summer often means campfires, fireworks, and sun. So what should you do if you get burned?

If the burn is from a flame or hot object, run it under cool water to reduce the severity of the burn, clean the area with a mild soap and water, and apply an antibacterial ointment or cream. Similarly, for sunburns, you should treat it by applying a cool compress, washing the area with a mild soap and water, and apply an antibacterial ointment or cream. If symptoms do not improve after several days, or if an infection develops, seek medical attention.

To prevent sunburn, provide shade and dress your child in protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats and lightweight long-sleeved shirts and long pants to limit sun exposure. If adequate shade or protective clothing are unavailable, for babies under 6 months of age, apply sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays with at least SPF 15 to small, exposed areas (i.e. face, hands, etc). For children over 6 months of age, apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to exposed skin.  Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.

 

The Top 5 Summer Emergencies and What to Do (Part 3 of 5)

helmetWarmer weather invites activities and adventures. But what happens when things go awry? In this special five-part series, the real experts at NYU Langone Medical Center provide valuable tips to serve as your guide. Part 3:

Trauma

As the weather gets warmer, trauma incidences rise since there is typically a lot more physical activity this time of year.

The best way to treat a concussion is to prevent a concussion. Always have your children wear the right protective gear for the chosen activity, including knee pads, elbow pads, eye protection, and a helmet—every time. It’s very important to check your helmet to make sure it fits properly and there is no structural damage to it. If a head injury is sustained, monitor for headaches as this could be a sign of concussion.

When riding a bicycle, skateboard, or scooter, children should be taught to ride only as fast as they can also feel comfortable slowing down in a controlled manner. Never ride a skateboard or scooter in or near open, moving traffic.

Practice playground safety when taking your children to a park or playground. Children should be supervised by an adult when using play equipment.  Make sure to keep your child out of reach of any moving parts that could pinch or trap any body part. Plastic, metal, and rubber play equipment can become hot quickly in the summer heat, so check that slides and swing seats are cool to prevent burns. Do not allow children to play barefoot in playgrounds.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.

 

The Top 5 Summer Emergencies and What to Do (Part 2 of 5)

swimWarmer weather invites activities and adventures. But what happens when things go awry? In this special five-part series, the real experts at NYU Langone Medical Center provide valuable tips to serve as your guide. Part 2:

Water Related Injuries

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five people who die from drowning are children aged 14 and younger. But for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

It’s important to keep children in sight at all times. It can take less than a minute to drown, especially if a child is a beginner swimmer. Children can even drown in a wading pool if there is enough water to cover the nose and mouth.

If there is a water emergency, immediately pull the individual out of the pool, and if there is no other trauma, you can roll them onto their side to help drain the water. Then call 9-1-1.

When it comes to diving, make sure your child knows to never dive into water without the permission of an adult who knows that the water is deep enough and clear of underwater objects.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.

 

The Top 5 Summer Emergencies and What to Do (Part 1 of 5)

hot-summerWarmer weather invites activities and adventures. But what happens when things go awry? In this special five-part series, the real experts at NYU Langone Medical Center provide valuable tips to serve as your guide. Part 1:

Exposure to Extreme Temperatures

Rising temperatures and humidity can cause a range of symptoms including dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Most are familiar with dehydration, which is a loss of body fluids through sweating and physical exertion. Signs of dehydration in infants and children can include decreased urination or wet diapers, fewer or no tears when crying, dry or parched mouth, a sunken soft spot of the head in infants or toddlers, and decreased energy.

If early signs are not heeded, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion. This form of more severe dehydration is characterized by weakness, muscle cramps, pale skin, profuse sweating, dizziness, and nausea. If symptoms are not resolving with fluids and rest at home or become very severe (such as fainting), these children should be brought to an emergency department to get evaluated and treated.

The next progression of heat exhaustion is heat stroke, which is when the body stops being able to release its own heat. The body becomes so dehydrated it can’t sweat anymore, causing the body temperature to reach dangerous levels. This can lead to confusion, kidney damage, heart problems and, in the most extreme cases, fatality. Symptoms also include hot, flushed skin with high fever over 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Every patient with heat stroke needs to be brought to the emergency room so they can be rapidly cooled and a thorough physical examination can be performed to determine if there is any organ damage.

To protect your child from extreme heat this summer: Plan to allow your child more time to rest when playing outside. Encourage your child to drink water or a sports drink frequently while playing in the heat. Try to find a cool (ideally air-conditioned) place to take breaks from playing outside. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen when outdoors. Never leave your child in a car or other closed vehicle, even if you plan to come back soon as temperatures inside a closed vehicle can rise to dangerous levels quickly.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.

 

Preventing Summer Learning Loss

summer-homework

School’s out for summer, but learning shouldn’t be on vacation, too. “Summer slide” occurs when children forget skills they learned the previous school year, and it’s a concern for many parents, especially parents of children with learning difficulties. Here are some ways to engage and support children at any age to retain those skills and even give them a leg up for the next school year, while still having fun and enjoying their time off from school.

Elementary school:
• Try and find some time daily to read with your children. You can start a fun summer book club with a few of your children’s friends and rotate homes where you can meet and discuss the book of the week. You can also stop at the library before your summer road trip or longer vacations for books to take along with you. Set 20 minutes aside daily for some quiet reading or shared reading pleasure. Nothing like a great book for the beach for you and your child!
• If your younger child (pre-k to 1st grade) struggles with reading, it is even more important that you read to them every day. Have them try and pick out words they recognize (sight words) and begin to use their phonetic skills to “tap out” or sound out more challenging words.
• For this young age group, you should also review and practice the sequence of the alphabet. Sing or say the alphabet whenever you can – in the car, on a walk, while taking a bath. Fun activities include scrambling magnetic plastic letters of the alphabet and asking your child to sequence them as he or she says the letter names.
• You can also practice the alphabet with a game–it can be something as simple as jumping rope while reciting the alphabet, and coming up with a vocabulary word based on the letter you stop jumping at.
• Rhyming games can also be fun. Say four words and ask your child to tell you which word does not belong. Make up silly words to get them even more engaged!
• For slightly older children (first grade and onward) start to talk to your child about a book before you even get into the text with them. Ask them questions about the cover, read the chapter headings, and have them hypothesize what they think the story will be about. After reading a chapter, pause and have them reflect and predict what they think will happen next in the story. Review and discuss the different characters and have them start to form inferences about what will happen as you move along in the book with them.
• If engaging your child in a book is a struggle, try graphic novels instead. They have proven to be appealing to students who have not yet developed a love of reading.
• Strengthen your child’s number skills by incorporating fun math activities into your summer routine: count the seashells on the sand while you’re walking, or add up the number of birds you see flying overhead.
• You can include practice with measurement by having your child engage in cooking or baking and having them take charge in following the recipe.
• For kids who are having difficulty making their handwriting legible, summer is a great time to work on that skill, or learn to type. Look for programs or apps that can help make the process fun.

Middle and high school:
• If your child struggles in a particular subject, like math, try to find out what’s coming up in the class next year. That way you can start previewing the upcoming new concepts early.
• Writing demands increase as we enter the higher grades. Finding opportunities when older students would be interested and willing to engage in writing practice can be hard. One way to incorporate writing exercises is by coupling them with fun adventures. Visiting local museums, finding a fun landmark to research while on a trip, and even conducting an interview with a relative or someone in the neighborhood can be used as opportunities to foster journaling and writing.
• As your children transition into middle and high school, organizational skills and independence become even more important. Help your child get a head start on organizing their notebooks for different subjects and scheduling due dates for assignments.
• If your child is anxious about starting at a new school, use the summer to engage in helpful social activities. Look for ways they can meet peers early on, visit and walk around new school grounds to diminish anxiety and increase confidence.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that helping your child keep up over the summer shouldn’t be costly, either in terms of a financial burden or by straining your relationship with your child. There are so many resources in our environment to employ and ways to continue to promote and foster learning that are present as long as we’re creative in thinking about how to include them.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Daniela Montalto, PhD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center, a part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital. She is the Clinical Director of the Child Study Center’s Institute for Learning and Academic Achievement.