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Transitioning Your Gifted Child from School Year to Summer Vacation

By Missy Hand Bedell.

One of the first differences I discovered in my gifted daughter centered on her inability to transition. While other kids would leave play dates or birthday parties calmly, she would sob, wail, and sometimes need to be carried out over my shoulder. Hitting me. No matter how large or small, transitions were an exhausting battle.

Transitioning out of school into summer has always been a challenge. Over the years, we’ve been able to provide her with coping mechanisms to help:

· Minimize the number of errands per day, limiting them to only as many as the child can handle. When she was young and I attempted three to four errands in one day, she would often fall apart by the end, lying on the ground, making strange sound effects, fidgeting.

· Prepare for the transition. Multiple times, we talk about the “summer routine,” the lack of a schedule, what clothes to wear that are appropriate for this time of year, what different job responsibilities she will have for the summer.

· Allow the turbulence to happen from time to time. We know she will struggle the first couple of weeks out, and if we’ve helped her in other ways, that’s OK. One of the “truths” I’ve learned as a parent is to lay the groundwork as much as possible to help with her transition, and then let the transition happen. She’s acquiring a life skill; she does need to work it out on her own.

Changing our lifestyle to support her transition needs challenged us, but the rewards have been immense. She is thriving right now, an eight-year-old finishing second grade at a Montessori School. She reads on a seventh grade level and does math at an early third grade level. She is a budding, accomplished piano player. But, more important than the achievements themselves, we are beginning to see in her a greater emotional balance. Gradually, she is the one gaining control of her transitions.


Kurcinka, M.S. (1998) Raising Your Spirited Child, Harper Perennial


Missy Hand Bedell spent six years as a criminal defense attorney before becoming the parent of her first gifted child. In August 2009, she created a blog for parents of gifted children, Loving My Children’s Gifts. Along with educating parents about their gifted children, she hopes to alleviate, through humor and empathy, some of the doubt and difficulties parents encounter while supporting the needs of their gifted children. For the coming year, she will be Board of Trustees President for a local Montessori School and just accepted the nomination for The Ohio Association of Gifted Children Parent Division Chair Elect. This is her first article for the SENG Update Newsletter.

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