Most parents work really hard all through the school year, keeping track of what children are learning and ensuring homework gets done. But keeping your child’s brain engaged over the summer can be challenging. If you don’t keep them engaged it could take four to six weeks for them to become fully alert when they return to school in September.
The question is, how you do keep them engaged without becoming their summer teacher? Here are tips to keep your child’s brain active all summer:
- Most libraries hold reading challenges over the summer. Encouraging your child to join the reading challenge can be a fun way to have a more diverse range of books in your home. Libraries are usually very good at supporting children and young people to find books that they are interested in and will enjoy.
- Encourage your child to keep a diary from the age of five years old. This can be a great way to support children. Not only are you asking them to write, you are asking them to think about how they feel, to create stories, to reflect on their day and on their relationships. They can share their entries with you or keep it private. It is a lovely gift to introduce to any child. You can get diaries from €1 to €10 depending on how fancy or lockable you want it to be. You never know, you could be creating a novelist, but regardless, their spelling and writing should benefit.
- Get your children to think about adding and subtracting e.g. when buying groceries get them to calculate the shopping bill. Maths does not have to be sums on paper. Help your child to see how we use numbers every day.
- Why not look for some new TV programmes to watch this summer that have more educational value e.g. animal documentaries and quiz programmes. When you start to engage with such programmes as a family it can lead to whole new conversations.
- Enjoy days out. There is so much for children to see and hear, people to meet and culture and diversity to experience. Taking children to historic sites or museums, festivals, religious sites or even on nature walks can help them to relate to information they learn in their school books.
- Finally, just take time to play and engage with your children − usually we are so busy it can be hard to find time to just sit and talk. Get to know your child. Help them to get to know you. How many of us really know our parents. Play, have fun, laugh, and share what life has to offer and you will have covered the full curriculum this summer and prepared your child well for next term.
This article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.