Summer is finally here, which means it’s time to break out the sunscreen and swimsuits! Even so, the summer sun is no excuse to break away from structure and schedules. We have seen first-hand how challenging summer break can be for children with learning differences, such as ADD, ADHD, or autism. Oftentimes, symptoms of these diagnoses become heightened in the absence of a routine. To prevent unnecessary parenting stress and to keep your student from slipping into a “summer slide,” check out Hill School’s top three success strategies for children with learning differences:

1. Maintain a Summer Schedule

Although summer is synonymous with sleeping-in and spontaneity, that might not be the “break” your child really needs. At Hill School, we recommend implementing a summer schedule to manage expectations and continue building healthy habits for your student. Whether it’s establishing a summer bedtime or morning routine, or scheduling regular daily activities like swim lessons and outdoor play, maintaining structure will help your student feel safe and in control. The consistency of a summer routine can also help prevent outbursts (like impulsivity and hyperactivity) from happening when they transition back to school in the fall.

2. Don’t Stop Learning (but DO make it fun!)

While school can be especially frustrating for students with learning differences, summer break is the perfect time to teach your children that learning is fun! There are so many opportunities to encourage enjoyable learning outside of a traditional classroom setting. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite activities around Fort Worth! Check out these local, interactive learning opportunities:

The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History: Dedicated to lifelong learning, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History has reopened this summer with a new 2,500 square-foot science studio, featuring a space exhibit called “Science on a Sphere” for all the aspiring astronauts out there. Additionally, the Children’s Museum, Noble Planetarium, DinoLabs, and DinoDig are also back in action to provide interactive learning experiences all season long.

The Fort Worth Zoo: Every summer, the Fort Worth Zoo offers a variety of educational programs and camps for children of all ages (K-12th grade). Wildlife and conservation enthusiasts alike can learn from Texas-certified teachers in a fun, hands-on environment with exclusive views of the zoo animals. Explorers can join the Texas Nature Traders by bringing in their native Texas treasures and knowledge, Summer birthdays can celebrate with an Overnight Safari experience, or try one of the zoo’s virtual programs from the comfort of your home. And for just an additional $5 when you visit the zoo, you can get access to the “Safari Splash,” where you and your family can cool off and chill out!

American Airlines CR Smith Museum: Does your child have an interest in aviation? The American Airlines CR Smith Museum will give them a window-seat view into the world of commercial flight. Learning is made fun through interactive flight simulators, evacuation slides, full-scale aircraft engines, and access to a rare 1940 Douglas DC-3 airliner. Now through September 25, they’re also offering a special exhibit, “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission,” celebrating the 52nd anniversary of the historic moon landing.

3. Celebrate the Simple Things

Children with learning differences are already vulnerable to poor self-esteem and negative self-image. Throughout the summer, it’s important to build support around their successes (big or small), celebrate their efforts (like completing a task or following through with their chores), and focus on the little things as they adjust to a new routine. This positive reinforcement will help build their self-confidence, making them even more resilient and assured when it’s time to return to the classroom.

At Hill School, we believe that a combination of structure, lifelong learning, and positive reinforcement sets students up for long-term success both in and outside of the classroom. If your student has a diagnosed learning difference and struggling in a mainstream educational setting, Hill School may be able to help! Explore our site to learn about the Hill School difference and fill out a Contact Form to connect with our Director of Enrollment, who can answer all your questions.