Many students have assigned reading for the summer. Some have math review sheets to do. If your child waits until the last minute – that would mean NOW is the time to get working.

You can use the summer work as a teaching opportunity to demonstrate how planning is done. Have your student count the number of days until school begins. Next have them count the number of pages they have to read, number of pages to write for the papers, or number of math worksheets. Divide that number by the number of days until school starts, and there you have the beginning of the plan. Your student will know exactly how much they have to do each day to finish the work before school starts. Now you need something to get them motivated to do the work!

Scheduling is a step toward accomplishment. What time each day this week will they tackle the assignments? A motivator might be access to electronic media after the day’s academic work is completed as scheduled. Psychologists call this the “Premack Principle” or grandma’s rule. First you work; then you play. This principle gets all of us moving to do the less attractive tasks on our agenda. Now there is a daily opportunity to do something fun after tackling the work.

Perhaps there could be a longer-term incentive when the final project is finished. Maybe your student would be motivated by a sleepover when the book report is complete, or having friends over for pizza. Offer several options, and let your student choose one as a celebration. But don’t make set plans until the work is completed – celebrations don’t happen based on a promise to finish it tomorrow!

Blogger Mary Ann Mulcahey, PhD, shares her expertise in assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities and ADHD, and the social/emotional adjustment to those issues.

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