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The Glorious Turbulence Of School Summer Transition


Recently, I’ve had a few parents ask me if I’m ready for summer and school being out, you know, with everything being more relaxed and all. I tell them that our schedule is about to explode once school ends!

Transitions from school to summer can be a bit like a plane ride with turbulence. You may be pretty excited to be on the plane, but the turbulence can be fairly unpleasant (and even scary) sometimes. Not every kid has the same needs during this type of adjustment period. Some are more easy breezy about it, glad to do their own thing and catch friends on-the-fly as they wander the neighborhood. Others really thrive on the structure and expectations of school. They like the activities and the predictable opportunities to see friends.

I don’t know how we’ll grade the summer when school starts again next year, but I’ve learned a couple of things along the way.

Don’t completely ditch all semblance of a schedule. At least some time structure is a good thing, especially for children who really need it. They will be more likely to come unglued if they don’t have any “markers” during the day to keep track of.

Avoid over-scheduling when possible. Some parts of our summer are a little more crammed with activity just because some things fall together. But I’ve been forced to avoid over-planning for the last two summers and I think that is a good thing. My oldest has her own calendar of events for the next six weeks because after her surgery, it does a big flat-line. We can certainly roll with that because it eventually balances out.

Celebrate the endings and the beginnings. The end of school is often a time when kids move to a different neighborhood, start at a different school, have annual programs and recitals, teachers retire, etc.  It’s also a time when new things and long-awaited opportunities begin such as vacation, swimming, abundant free play and summer projects. While it can be hard to let go of people and certain routines, it’s also great to welcome new opportunities and new friends. Such is the rhythm of life, and the school/summer transition is a perfect time to roll with it.

For our family, today is the last day of school, first half-day of summer, and more. The old and the new come together in a glorious way like no other time of the year. Cry, laugh, celebrate and fasten your seat belt because the turbulence is just ahead.

Creative Commons License photo credit: kalleboo

The Glorious Turbulence Of School Summer Transition

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2010). The Glorious Turbulence Of School Summer Transition. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 20 May 2010
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