Most kids spend the entire school year looking forward to the eventual return of summer vacation. Being free from classrooms and homework for three full months helps ensure that many children regard summer as their favorite season. Given how hard kids have worked during the school year, it’s only natural that they’d want to spend their summers relaxing. However, as any parent can attest, there’s such a thing as too much rest and relaxation. While kids should certainly be allowed to take it easy throughout the summer months, they should also be required to spend a portion of their time constructively. This will help keep their minds active and engaged and prevent them from frittering the summer away. Parents looking for ways to give their kids a push in the right direction should consider the following options.
Limiting Screen Time
For some kids, having limits placed on their screen time is liable to seem like cruel and unusual punishment, particularly during the summer months. If your children’s favorite hobbies include gaming, surfing the web, and watching television, odds are they’re going to want to devote a substantial portion of the summer to these pursuits. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with pastimes that involve electronics, limits should be placed on the amount of time your kids are able to spend staring at screens each day.
In other words, your children are welcome to enjoy screen-based hobbies – but in moderation. Spending the majority of their summer break parked in front of their phones, computers and various other devices can prove conducive to boredom and restlessness. Furthermore, spending the summer in this manner is likely to be detrimental to your children’s physical health. With this in mind, limit the amount of screen time your kids are able to enjoy each day. You may also want to consider using the promise of additional screen time as an incentive to get your kids to read and be more physically active. For example, every chapter of a book a child reads can equal half an hour of screen time.
Actively Encourage Reading
Reading on a consistent basis carries a number of benefits for children. In addition, to give their brains a good workout, daily reading can heighten concentration, improve memory and help kids develop their own creative voices. Daily reading can be particularly important during the summer since some children do very little reading outside of the classroom.
With this in mind, actively encourage your kids to read every day and provide them with daily quotas. These quotas can be measured by pages or chapters and should vary depending on age and level of reading comprehension. To provide your children with an enticement to read, take them to libraries and bookstores and allow them to pick out books that appeal to their individual interests. Additionally, don’t disparage comics, manga, and graphic novels (provided, of course, they’re age-appropriate), as these can be just as beneficial to building reading comprehension as non-picture books. You can also incentive reading by offering small rewards in return for finished books.
Seek out Intellectually Stimulating Hobbies
Over the summer, some children essentially shut off their brains for three months, which can result in them getting a good portion of what they learned throughout the previous school year. This can also make it difficult for them to get back into the groove of learning once fall rolls around. In the interest of keeping their minds active all summer long, seek out hobbies for your children that are conducive to intellectual stimulation. Such hobbies include arts and crafts, creative writing, and musical instruments. You and your children can also get involved in charity work and help prevent kids from going to bed hungry.
It isn’t hard to see why so many children regard summer as their favorite time of year. Getting a lengthy break from the classroom and the strict schedule that dictates their lives during the school year is sure to be an appealing prospect to virtually any child. While there’s nothing wrong with taking it easy throughout the summer months, your kids shouldn’t spend three solid months doing anything but staring at screens. Not only can this interfere with knowledge retention, but it can also lead to massive regret come to the end of summertime.