The end of the school year can cause a panic in parents. It doesn’t matter if you’re working full time or at home with the kids, the fears are the same: you don’t want your children to spend their summer in front of the TV all day or texting as their only means of communication with the rest of the world.
Kids need to stay active and occupied during the summer months to make sure they get the most out of their summer before heading back to school.
Research gathered over a 100-year period indicates students score lower on standardized tests when they take the exams at the end of the summer months rather than at the start of the summer, according to the National Summer Learning Association.
Parents can keep their kids’ minds stimulated by trying any one these activities:
- Ask teachers for summer packets that can help children practice what they learned throughout the year.
- Make reading a daily habit. Children learn when their brain is active, even if they’re reading fun and easy books.
- Enroll children in a summer enrichment program. Schools or community programs often sponsor events and activities to keep kids engaged.
- Use the television to your advantage. Make sure educational programs are part of their routine. Slackware.org lists possible channel options like National Geographic, Animal Planet and Discovery Channel.
Focus on Physical
Make sure your child’s summer is filled with physical activities. Children need 60 minutes of physical activity each day, including aerobic and muscle strengthening activities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Sign your child up for local recreational or sports programs. Churches, community centers and schools usually host events throughout the summer. Let your child choose what interests them. They may even try something new.
- Do Zumba or another workout plan together every day.
- Have your child meet you at the park after work each day for a few rounds of basketball.
- Get a pass to the local public swimming pool. Encourage your children to head up to the pool by mid-morning to avoid the heat and the crowds.
- Have your child write a story over the summer months.
- Host a sprinkler party with the neighborhood kids.
- Work with a neighborhood organization or nursing home to do service work together as a family. Community service is a great way to keep your child active while also learning valuable lessons in philanthropy and humility.
- Encourage your teens to get a part-time summer job or volunteer at the library, rec center or church. They will learn time management and financial responsibility.
- Do a home improvement project together. You and your kids can paint a bedroom wall, repurpose old furniture or plant a garden.
- Take a cooking class together. Some are designed for children as young as 10.
- Tour the area museums. Forbes.com featured the top 12 best children’s museums in the U.S. Plan a day trip (or longer) to some of them this summer. Most museums offer a free admission time, such as Wednesday nights or the first Friday of every month.
The best thing you can do for your kids this summer is spend time with them. The bonding, activities and relaxation will be good for them, and for you.
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