July 17, 2019/Children's Health

Can Kids Get Burnt Out From Summer School?

Finding a balance between work + play

Girls examining plants outside during summer school class

Summer break brings warm weather, family activities and time to relax and enjoy the outdoors. But for some kids, it can also bring a dreaded activity: summer school.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Between daily worksheets, enrichment packets, test prep or making up an entire course, kids’ stress levels can remain high over the course of the warmer months due to continued academic responsibilities. Pediatrician Richard So, MD, provides the secret to avoiding burnout: finding balance.

“The first piece of advice I always offer to parents is to give your kids a week of summer break off to decompress,” Dr. So says. “During that time, it’s also a good idea to make a ‘Summer Fun’ list of things the whole family can do together.”

Work for reward

Having fun incentives will help motivate your child to get their work done, in order to have time to play. Dr. So suggests adopting a “first, then” model when outlining plans for the day.

“If you tell your child you are going to get them ice cream after they complete their summer work for the day, they are more likely to want to do their work the right way the first time,” he explains. “It’s not bribing your child, but offering positive reinforcement for doing good work.”

Advertisement

Take learning outside of the classroom

Another strategy that adds an element of fun to summer schoolwork is role playing.

“Play ‘School’ and pick a different child or family member to be the teacher for the day,” Dr. So suggests. “You can even incorporate some of your summer bucket list items into learning as field trips, like going to the zoo or reading in the park. Not only is learning more interactive, but the ‘teacher’ for the day is learning through educating the entire group.”

Move forward, not backward

If your child has to attend summer school to earn credit for a failed class, resist the temptation to say “I told you so.” Rather, focus on using positive language as a motivating tool.

“Sometimes kids just learn a different way and need a second time to fully grasp material,” Dr. So says. “Reminding them that they are not stupid, they are not the only one taking the course, and they are allowed to make mistakes as long as they learn from them will boost their desire to learn and do well.”

Advertisement

The “first, then” dialogue is equally as helpful in this setting. Once your child is finished with summer school, check off another item of your “Summer Fun” list—you had a vacation planned anyway!

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Child using smartphone and with social media and texts bubbles around him
January 15, 2024/Children's Health
How Social Media Can Negatively Affect Your Child

Too much screen time and unrealistic expectations and perceptions and can lead to an increased risk of anxiety and depression

Child in bed sick with parent's hand in foreground holding thermometer.
September 10, 2023/Children's Health
Too Sick for School? How To Decide if You Should Keep Your Kid Home

Vomiting and fevers are a hard no — other symptoms are a judgment call

Children on two different soccer teams running after soccer ball in field.
August 16, 2023/Children's Health
Play Ball! Team Sports Are Good for Kids’ Mental Health

Participating in sports teaches kids life skills and can build self-confidence for the long haul

Group of mixed individuals bullies another who is cringing on the ground.
August 13, 2023/Mental Health
How Not To Raise a Bully

It starts with teaching your child how to use emotional language and to respect others

Pictured from behind, parent and nervous child stand outside of school doors.
August 3, 2023/Children's Health
When School Is Stressful: 5 Tips for Helping Your Child’s School Anxiety

If your child is nervous or apprehensive about school, communication is key

Child and parent meeting with mental health therapist.
February 6, 2023/Children's Health
What To Do and What Not To Do When Your Child Is in Therapy

Be involved in your kid’s care, but be mindful of boundaries

Child playing a video game on iPad.
January 31, 2023/Children's Health
How Playing the EndeavorRx Video Game Can Help Your Child With ADHD

This therapeutic game teaches ways to improve attention function

Parent annoyed with angsty teenager.
November 22, 2022/Children's Health
Is Your Teen Depressed or Just Moody?

Paying attention and opening the lines of communication are key to supporting your child

Trending Topics

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

woman snacking on raisins and nuts
52 Foods High In Iron

Pump up your iron intake with foods like tuna, tofu and turkey

Ad