You may have attended your fall parent conference; you may have found
that your child is still “not getting it.” You may be frustrated and ready to give up
on this parenting thing.
We know that children are our future and we need to prepare them for that. However, they are not going to be able to pick up all the technological things they need if they cannot read, write and spell satisfactorily. (Notice, I did not say successfully or perfectly.) They surely need a basic amount of communication skills to continue to be interested and grow their learning.
The skills they continue to learn are skills you can help them with at home. If they claim they have no homework, still give them “quiet time”—reading, writing, drawing, just thinking, but not playing video games. They can look at pictures in a magazine or book, read graphic novels (comic books, when we were growing), read or write poetry, write in a journal (spelling excepted), draw their dreams or sketch a robot to help clean their room.
You must give them time to explore their interests, to help you to know the kind of gift you might get for them for Christmas that goes along with their developing passion. You might purchase a reasonably priced guitar or music lessons if they show interest in music, a model car they can construct, or a game they can conquer or sports lessons to challenge their competitive spirit. How about a science kit or a microscope for your children whose bent is towards discovery of nature or how things work.
You can use your “quiet time” to show interest and observe your children. For this, you, too must put down your phone or tablet to find what interests your children. Learning skills will strengthen as your children pursue what they like or what interests them. If there is strong interest, they will want to discover more, read more, even write more. They will develop their own way to learn and will do what is necessary for them to acquire more knowledge. Nagging, pushing or doing more worksheets will not help. Time spent with your children and conversation with them is invaluable.
They may forget what you said, but they will never forget HOW you made them feel. Carol Buchner
Summer vacation presents a new challenge for parents, especially for those working parents. For young families, it means looking for someone to care for your children. If older children, parents wonder how they are using their time off. Hopefully, if they are old and responsible enough, they may be baby sitting your own or other children. If your sons are ambitious, they may be seeking to help an elderly neighbor, such as cutting their lawns of putting their trash barrel on the curb for pick-up.
Here are some items for you to consider:
Try to keep as much of a routine as you can. Children thrive on knowing how, when and where they must operate.
Be sure each child knows how they are to contribute to your family: feeding and walking the dog, loading/unloading the dishwasher and/or clothes washer and dryer, taking out the trash, and making sure the recyclables are in the right container for pickup on the right day. Children need to be responsible for their own rooms—making their beds and putting their clothes in the hamper. Habits you establish during the summer when you and they have time help your children consider them part of their school-day routine. to Experts suggest these chores not be paid as allowance, but necessary to the functioning as a family. Give allowances for extra work, but not for those necessary to the daily health of your family.
Make quiet time part of the schedule. We all need time to read, think, dream in favorite ways, and summer gives us time to do so. This is what helps us to have a relaxing summer.
Keep children’s minds working through planned summer activities, day camps for their special interests, online academic classes (Khan Academy, Epic, Brain Chase Summer Learning Challenge Treasure Hunt, Summer 20 (audio books for fun and games), HappiMe for Young People and Three Good Things—A Happiness Journal (to keep your children mentally healthy).
New experiences and new places to travel for the whole family, even on weekends, help children to be curious, ask questions, and learn fascinating things.
Summer should be time planned for family activities but not to forget to learn. Make your summer learning a joy for you and your children.
A balanced brain makes a child's digestion and immune system function properly and also increases intellectual ability...When a child does not have a balanced brain, he can have problems with his motor skills, ability to process information, digestive system, hormones, and immune systems. Dr. Robert Melillo
Opportunities for parents to balance children's brains make an exciting and interesting summer. There are many ways to help your child expand their capacity for learning without stressing your budget. First of all, you must limit screen time--the time children spend watching TV, playing video games, talking and texting on their smart phones.
We have the power to change our brains--through exercise. Exercise spawns neurons in the brain and feeds the brain to help cells survive. Aerobic exercise, such as jogging, riding a bike, even playing a sport that involves sprinting or running is good. It has been suggested that moving in this way 30 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week for 12 weeks or throughout the summer improves your children's ability to organize, plan, and act on information.
Learning a new skill such as rock climbing, yoga, karate, Pilates, gymnastics, or skating strengthens and expands the brain's networks and ability to think and learn. Tennis and other activities done with a partner combine aerobic and skill training which strengthens the cardiovascular system as well as beefs up the brain's infrastructure. Twister and "freeze dancing" (dancing or moving until music stops, then freeze) give body and brain stretches.
Play, unstructured play, is an opportunity for children to exercise their brains and bodies while learning to navigate social situations and problem solve on their own. With their play, children improve their alertness, attention and motivation. They even build and encourage nerve cells to bind to one another and develop new nerve cells from stem cells in the area of the brain related to memory and learning.
Balance the brain through games like Go Fish (improves hand-eye coordination), tangrams and jigsaw puzzles (improves spacial relationships and logical ability), Uno ( improves attention, pattern recognition, numbers and colors), Scrabble (vocabulary and spelling), and strategy games such as checkers, chess, and Chinese checkers (planning and critical thinking).
Use the senses to build brains. Blindfold children and let them taste things to identify what they are. Allow them to smell different kinds of smells (black pepper, coffee, and lemon for right brain to become open to new and varied foods) and banana, lavender and chocolate for left brain. Exercise children's eyes to improve focus. Have them hold their thumb in a hitchhiking position and follow it with their eyes as they move it near and far in front of their face. Holding head still, have children move eyes in all directions to improve peripheral vision. Maintain their balance and coordination by taking a walk, climbing stairs, and standing still on one foot at a time.
Summer routines including these kinds of exercise helps the brain learn and improves the rate of learning for all your children. Don't let their brains idle!
Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one. Author Neil Gaiman.
Your local librarian is a treasure that you as parents must discover for the sake of your children. He/she can research anything you or your children want to know. If your children are working on a project or assignment that requires them to find out more, take a trip to the library. If you do not know to use the computer, your librarian will be your guide. If you do not know how to use the card catalog, or sources for research, your librarian will help. She will even help you find pictures and diagrams to enhance your presentation.
The only thing your librarian can not do is think and figure out how to use the information you find. Parents can help you organize material if given enough time.
Children, make sure your parents know your assignment as soon as it is given. Your parents cannot help if you do not keep them in the loop...and give yourself enough time. The research sometimes is the easiest to do, but the thinking and organizing takes time.
Parents, check out the articles posted here for this time of year. It is so more important that you spend time with your children (without devices) than for you to buy them expensive gifts. You put your family under more pressure to pay for these gifts using credit that needs to be repaid in the new year.
Build memorable times together that will last longer than digital devices and you will be giving presents to future grand- and great-grand children as your children grow and remember past Christmases with you. Your children will imitate Christmases they remember with you to pass them along to their children if you make happy, even traditional and cultural, memories for them now.
Recently, the children in our school district were on Fall break from their schools, but they did not stop learning. Our local library provided four days of expanded knowledge (after the Columbus Day holiday). Children (some with their parents) learned more about Scavenger Hunts by finding Pokemon throughout the library and creating their own comic strip. They enjoyed a visit and story from Clifford, the big red dog. They came dressed as their favorite super hero and constructed their own superhero cuffs. They even learned about medieval times and arts from The Society for Creative Anachronism.
Parents taking the time and making the effort to be present and to learn with their children made their Fall break a marvelous opportunity to learn together.
"SMARTER PARENTS FOR SMARTER KIDS."