Educators will tell you it takes several weeks at the beginning of each school year to get students’ academic skills back to where they were at the end of the previous year. Teachers call it “review”, most kids call it boring. However, there are many fun summer activities parents can encourage in order to keep their child’s brain sharp during the summer months.
When summer arrives kids want to relax and take it easy and for many this means choosing electronics for their summer activities. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting a child’s use of TV, movies, video and computer games to no more than one or two hours a day. The National Institute on The Media & Family further suggests no more than an hour of video games. Teens have told me they play up to five hours of video games a day in the summer, stating they are “bored” and have nothing better to do. When at least two highly respected authorities recommend limiting time with electronics, we as parents want to pay attention by redirecting our children’s choices.
Listed below are summer activities parents should encourage:
LETTING YOUR CHILD EXPLORE VACATION OPTIONS WITH YOU:
Parents can have their children participate in the preparatory phase of a summer vacation, so the child is learning new information and reinforcing previous learned material.
Skills used: Decision making, science, geography, history, organization, reading, prioritizing and calendar use.
BUDGETING FOR THE VACATION:
Skills used: Math, realistic understanding of the “real cost” of experiences, food, gas, etc.
FINAL VACATION CHOICE:
Skills used: Communication with family, listening, realistic evaluations of options, and compromise.
Skills used: Math, geography, and time management.
Skills used: Organization and planning.
Kids won’t like this but it is very important —summertime is a perfect opportunity to help your child catch up in academic areas where they may be weak. For instance, if a third grader never quite mastered their times tables they will enter 4th grade at a definite disadvantage. When long division is taught, a child who has not mastered their times tables will feel frustration and lack confidence while learning new math. If a student is weak in an academic area, enlist the aid of an older child to make the review seem like a family effort. Or, have the weaker student act the role of teacher, while playing school with a younger child. Present the study time as a fun time.
Many parents struggle with making their child study during the summer. A child who is behind in a subject will buck the idea of studying because children do not like what they are not good at. However, children are more likely to cooperate if there is a reward system involved. Also, parents often feel guilty making the child study because it is, after all, vacation time. Parents can get past the guilt by realizing they are going to give their child a big boost of confidence going into the next school year.