Saving Your Student from Summer Brain Fade Syndrome
Summer vacation is a time for sleeping late, going to camp, and spending long, lazy days in the sunshine. School work and learning are often the very last things that any student wants to think about in July and August! However, all too fast September r forward and brings with it a return to books, charts, and tests!
It is easy for students to slip into the carefree world that summer offers, leaving their brains to forget much of the information they have gained during the previous year. But most schools have curriculums that are so intense they need to begin teaching new material right away, leaving students with little time between carefree summer days and important learning tasks. The best way to help your child to begin the next school year with an advantage is to help reduce the amount of inactive brain time that they have during the summer.
While no one wants or expects students to forego camping trips and swimming holes for trips to the library to study Latin every day, there are many fun and easy things that you can do to help your child maintain their academic edge.
Turn off the television: Though most children have favorite programs they enjoy, watching too much television is not good for encouraging creativity or brain development in children. Television supplies entertainment without any interaction from your child, limiting their ability to think creatively. In addition, there are many studies which have documented the behavioral effects children experience when they are exposed to violence on TV. While very few people can effectively turn off the family television completely, think about limiting your child to a few shows a week.
Encourage outdoor sports and activities: Engaging children in healthy athletic activities does not necessarily mean running to endless baseball games and other organized events. Rather, encourage children to play sports at home with friends and siblings, including kick ball, dodge ball, baseball, basketball, running r, or other creative games. Playing these games helps to keep children physically fit while promoting social interaction with peers. Both of these skills will be important to your child in the coming school year!
Include summer reading time: Many schools have required reading lists for children to complete before returning to classes. However, even if your child does not have certain books to complete, encourage your child to read something every day. Many libraries have fun reading/ activity programs in the summer for little or no fee. Children of all ages also enjoy being read to by an older family member; choose a book together and take turns reading some of it every night. There is no reason that parents can't set a goal of reading a certain number of books as a family- then enjoying a rewarding trip to the ice cream shop when it's done! Try to read over the whole summer. Like anything else, cramming time in at the end of the vacation won't benefit anyone much and will create lots of family tension.
Use math in everyday life: Going shopping at the grocery store? Buying a new summer outfit? Taking a family vacation in the car? All of these are excellent opportunities to show your child how adults use math every day. When you're shopping, take your child along and have them keep a running total of purchases; give them a spending limit and have them estimate how much you still have left to spend as you shop. At the clothing store, kids can learn to bargain shop as they learn how to deduct percentages from store prices for sales. Finally, take some time to look at a map before family vacations so you can estimate the number of miles your trip will cover. You can also use that information to see how much money you'll need to put aside for the high price of gas!! No matter how average or adventurous, adults use math every day. Give children the opportunity to flex their math muscles during the summer, too.
Enjoy living history: The Fourth of July is an important summertime date for all Americans, and it is always a favorite of children, with fireworks, parades, and festivities galore. Take the time to talk to your kids about the meaning of this patriotic holiday. There are many books for children about our country's history that can teach interesting facts to children (and their parents, too!). In some areas re-enactments of Revolutionary War battles take place around this time; consider going to one of these events. They are really interesting for everyone in the family. Make history come alive!
Sneak in some science: Catching bugs, blowing bubbles, and fishing are just some of the possible sources of interesting your child in science during the summer. Go to the library and check out books on bugs, birds, fish, or whatever natural critters capture your attention. Read about them and then try to find them around your own house. You can even keep a journal about your finds. If nature's not your thing, try a book on creative science projects for home. Many of these include recipes for making your own soap bubbles, creating your own volcanoes, and other interesting experiments. Try some out!
There are tons of fun, creative ways to keep your child's brain healthy and active while having fun during the summer months. Giving your child the opportunity to use their creativity and knowledge to do new things will keep them from becoming victims of the dreaded Summer Brain Fade Syndrome and will give them the edge they need to start the next school year off right! Have fun!!