Tips to Keep Your Child Sharp Over The Summer
Somehow, we’re nearly through the month of June. A whole month of summer vacation out the door! Just a month and a half left before kids and teens make their way back to school. You might be very thankful for summer vacation. For parents, it’s a break from carpool, homework, PTA meetings, testing, and after school activities. Similarly, kids all over the country are rejoicing that, at least for a few months, they aren’t forced to sit in a classroom for seven hours a day, five days a week. While parents can spend more time focusing on work or things around the house, kids everywhere are taking to the pools, to backyards, and of course, to video game consoles. That’s great. Parents deserve a break as do children and teenagers. However, you shouldn’t completely neglect the fact that, just because it’s summer, it doesn’t mean your child isn’t still developing. This three month period is pivotal to ensure children and teen retain and build on the knowledge and skills they acquire during the school year. Here are a few tips to keep kids and teens sharp this summer.
Summer Reading is a Must
Most middle schoolers and pretty much every high schooler are required to read a least one book over the summer. Whether it’s for a course or as a school, older kids and teens are almost guaranteed to have to read over the summer. However, young children and grade schooler aren’t typically required to participate in any summer reading. School districts or private institutions might encourage students to join summer reading programs. Still, there’s no guarantee that students will make an effort to read during the summer months. This puts one of the most vulnerable and formable age groups at risk for reading at a lower grade level when they return to classes in the fall.
The simplest solution to the summer reading dilemma is required your child to read a chapter book. Implement both a rewards system and disciplinary system. If your child finishes a certain number of chapters or pages, reward them with a sweet trip, trip to an amusement park, or a toy. If your child fails to maintain their summer reading schedule, limit screen time, implement timeouts or require them to do extra chores. Requiring your little one to read throughout their summer break is a fantastic way to ensure they’re ready when classes resume in the fall.
Limit Screen Time and Video Games
Phone, tablets, computers, and video game consoles are extremely addictive. Thanks to the internet, the world is at everyone’s fingertips. With movies, YouTube, and games, kids will never grow bored of a cell phone or iPad. If you haven’t noticed, these screens aren’t healthy. Because they’re addictive and interactive, kids and teens can spend hours on these devices uninterrupted. The same goes for video games. Both mobile devices and video games can inhibit developmental growth and distract children from other activities that might benefit them mentally and physically.
Simply limiting screen time will force children and teens to look elsewhere for entertainment this summer. Providing younger kids with picture books, interactive educational games and toys, and outdoor activities that encourage problem-solving and critical thinking will serve as the perfect alternative to cell phones and video games.
Get a Tutor
Unlike the first two tips, getting a tutor requires more involvement on the parent-side and costs money. However, getting a summer tutor is the best way to ensure students retain and build on the knowledge they acquired during the school year. Again, pricey but very effective.
Tutors can assist children and teens in a variety of subjects. From critical subjects like Math and English to ACT test prep in St. Louis, tutors can assist students of all ages. Additionally, tutors can work with children for as little or as much time as you wish. Another option more cost-effective is to enroll students in communal summer courses at community centers or private schools. Educational summer camps are always a safe bet too!