Daylight Savings Time is just around the corner, which means spring break, sunscreen, and before you know it, the long hot days of summer.
As much as you look forward to some valuable “down time” with the family (and well-earned R&R), it’s important to keep your kids mentally engaged during their summer break with a variety of enriching and educational activities. Come fall, the excitement of “back to school” will be much more than having plenty of new clothes and No. 2 pencils; advancing to the next grade level should be a smooth transition for children academically, not a struggle to relearn key subject matter and skill sets from the previous year.
Family weekend outings, long-distance road trips, and even playtime with friends are great opportunities to combat the effects of summer learning loss – the inadvertent (but measurable) academic decline that many young students experience between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next.
Without some quality, proactive (parental) intervention, kids will lose, on average, a month or more of spelling skills, and two-and-a-half months of math skills. If this pattern continues all the way through elementary school, some students will never catch up; these children could find themselves walking into high school a year behind the learning curve... and way behind for college.
According to research sponsored by John Hopkins University, most kids want to participate in a summer learning program that challenges them intellectually and helps them prepare for the school year ahead. Depending on their age and maturity level, you can sign your kids up for weeklong sleepaway camps, (FUN!) summer day camps, summer reading programs, and outdoor learning excursions.
Also, make sure you don’t underestimate the importance of family time. It’s not only essential in building family values and relationships, it also promotes stability and a sense of parental support – along with great summer memories! Gathering the family together for “game night,” particularly games that require mental dexterity like Scrabble™, charades, or chess, helps kids improve their critical thinking skills, analytical capacity, and academic retention.
Believe it or not, sports camps can also play a big part in fending off the “Summer Slide.” Physical exercise has the ability to actually make your kids smarter in school. According to research, regular physical activity appears to help children focus, improve their cognitive skills, boost learning retention, and even increase their brain development.
So despite your best wishes to veg-out by the pool this summer for three months sans homework, science projects, or PTA meetings, your parenting job is still at play. But just remember this – it’s quality family fun; you’re instilling lifelong learning skills in your children; and the investment you’re making is worth every minute.
#StrongFamilies #SmartKids #ActiveSummer
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