Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Summer Well Spent

It was a blessing this summer to be able to spend time with my oldest son as he prepared to enter kindergarten.  He also faced the addition of a new sibling in the house. In past summers I have spent a large amount of time on the road coaching, but I have been blessed now with a position that allows me to spend more time with family at this important developmental stage. While Isaiah has done an exemplary job accepting the big brother role, he has also started to challenge authority, particularly with his mother, and that is something I want to shut down before it becomes a regular habit and starts happening at school.  Every day this summer, I would pick him up from camp, and either take him to the pool so he could burn some energy or we would go home and work on skills that would be useful in the classroom like counting or reading.  This kept him in practice with school skills like having to sit still and focus on a task.  He also got continued exposure to things he had learned during the school year.  Below are a couple other examples of how my additional time with my son was helpful:

Taking responsibility: Little Man struggled during the year with owning up to things that he did which he knew weren't right like not putting his clothes away, or forgetting to flush the toilet.  His teacher had observed the same thing in school. This summer when he tried to claim "I didn't do it" he was consistently held accountable.   I explained how he could get in more trouble for not owning up to his mistake than if he just apologized.

Controlling Emotions:  We wanted to move Little Man forward beyond crying when he did not get his way.  His teacher noted that he often did this in school.  This summer I pushed him to use his words to explain why he was upset.   I also forced him not to whine when he wanted something.  He is only five, but he looks to be seven or eight, so we want his maturity to match what his teachers perceive when they see him.

Bonding Activities:  Little Man and I grew closer over the summer because of the opportunities we had to do things together.  He came to the pool with me to watch me coach, and I answered all of his questions about what was going on.  We also went to the movies together, and I took him to his karate classes, which allowed me to give instant feedback on what I saw. 

Ultimately, this summer gave me a multitude of opportunities to affirm my love, and support of my oldest son at a time when he could easily think that there is less attention available for him.  The early payoff is that he has started the school year very positively, and his teacher has been impressed by his leadership and work ethic.

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