As a private tutor, it is amusing when my friends and family are shocked at the amount of business I have in the summer. Many would think that during the summer all parents want their kids to have a break. This is partially true, but kids can have a serious rough patch starting back in school after a summer off, especially if they had trouble the year before. As a parent, what can you do to keeps your kids sharp without making them feel like they are being punished?
Kids love technology and games. Why not use that to your advantage. I frequently use games whether it be on my phone or actual software. The children I work with love them and actually see them as a reward. I love the Cluefinders games for computers, and the Kevin Bradford games for my mobile devices. The kids really like them, sometimes better than the regular games.
For kids who have been doing well simply having a routine each day can help them transition back to school easily. No, they don’t necessarily need to wake up as early as they do for school, but waking up around the same time is a great idea. They don’t even have to be doing things that are incredibly educational, but watching a show during breakfast, then reading time, etc.
I don’t care how old you are, everyone loves outings. Kids in particular love to get out there and experience new things, because to them many things are new to them that seem ordinary to us. Some of the more spectacular and fun trips include trips to the science museum, kids museum, aquarium, or a children’s theater show. A simpler trip might be picking fruit or trying a new type of food, like thai food.
Make Errands A Chance to Learn
Inevitably you will have to run errands and your child will likely be unhappily dragged along. You could bring color books and pray your child will cooperate, or, your could plan ahead and find a learning activity at each stop. For example, turn a trip to the bank a chance to practice with money, or a line at the post office as an opportunity learn about letter writing.
Create Learning Activities at Fun Places
A great one that people often don’t think about is bird watching at the park. The kids have a chance to play at the park and when they are tired and need a break can try their hand at identifying the birds they see all the time. Another one that kids I have worked with love is the chance to help with baking or cooking.
There are so many ways beyond those I have suggested that can be helpful but just remember that it isn’t always about making kids practice their math facts. Sometimes it is as simple as a game of hi ho cherry os. Focus on enriching your summers with your child, and enjoy them.