Do not despair if you haven’t enrolled your child in activities so that he’ll be busy every moment during the summer. Let your child find things to do. It’s really good to have nothing to do – except play.
Try not to use the television, cell phone, i-pad, computers as babysitters. Limit the amount of time your child spends engaged in technology/ screen time. While it may seem like a good idea to have your children engaged in this way, after all they are busy and not getting into trouble, the truth is that instant entertainment robs your child of the opportunity to use his imagination.
Using his imagination is also a wonderful skill to encourage. When children are bored or have ‘nothing to do’ they come up with creative ways to occupy themselves. Provide building blocks or legos and you have the framework on which to build any number of fictional situations. Even crayons, markers and paper are great entertainers. And what about having a family jigsaw puzzle to put together?
Some technology time is good. It can be used to review or practice math facts, to do some problem solving, and other school related skills.
You can also involve your child in activities around the house. Sorting and categorizing are critical skills. Let your child engage in sorting the cutlery from the dishwasher. Then teach him where to put the forks, knives and spoons away. He can also help sort the laundry. Teach him how to sort the colored clothes from the whites. He can even measure out the detergent and start the washing machine. When the laundry is dry he can match socks, fold some things and help put the laundry away.
If you like to bake, ask your child to help you measure the ingredients. He can practice his reading and read the recipe to you and follow the directions along with you. If he is old enough, perhaps he’d like to take over some of the cooking!
Am I suggesting that your child help with chores around the house? Yes! I am. It’s important to instill in our children a sense of responsibility for the care of their home. When better to do this than when they do not have schoolwork to attend to? There have been an increasing number of stories in the news about millennials who do not have the skills necessary to live independently. You can give your child these necessary skills by teaching them basic skills when they are young and then gradually increasing the amount they are involved in the household chores as they get older.
If your child is doing a great job helping you around the house and you give him an allowance for doing these chores why not help him open a savings account? You can teach him about money. Teach him to save some money aside from each allowance and let him watch his money grow. He can learn about interest payments and experience pride when he has saved up enough money to purchase something for himself.
The opportunity for learning is all around us. Take advantage of the summer months to engage your child in conversation, imagination, and exploration. Have fun engaging in all these wonderful activities with your child. After all, it’s summer time – let’s play!