Educational psychologists believe that achievement gaps between average and brilliant students can be removed during the summer break. The difference is created when one group of children dedicates time to playing, reading, and live sports, while others vegetate on computer games and television. It’s not a child’s fault if they find video games more pleasurable; even an adult would gravitate towards such interactive screens. The focus should not only be on making physical activities more fun, but also to encourage kids to learn while playing. While boredom is a natural psychological process, help your little ones stay busy and active by offering them things to do.
Why Boredom is Good
Oddly enough, many kids find it difficult to set a summer routine because they haven’t been bored enough to even think about it. The presence of media and technology is keeping kids away from extracurricular physical and mental activities. Unlike the 80s kids who used to get access to Bugs Bunny and other Looney-Toons on Saturdays only, today’s kids have television 24/7.
If your kids are bored, make good use of this situation. This is when they are more open to suggestions and ideas. Encourage reading books. Kids generally love it when you read with them. It can be a great opportunity for you to shape and change behaviors in order to have a positive impact on their psychological state.
Leisure Education is a helping tool that enables an individual to understand the kind of leisure activities that can result in meaningful self-growth. On a broader perspective, a child gets to learn what, where, how, and why a specific kind of activity can enhance the development process without having to sacrifice personal choices and interests (Witt et al., 1981). Various studies on adolescent leisure indicate that while some kids are good at figuring out their hobbies, most of them fail to understand how to utilize their free time in constructive work. Leisure, in its true meaning, is much more than hanging out and having a good time.
Teach them the Art of Living: Interacting with Other Kids
No matter how much your child is intellectually gifted, if he/she does not learn to mingle with other kids, the art of living will forever be unknown to him/her. Building relationships and being able to communicate with one another is the very heart of learning and development. Take your kids out to public parks, playgrounds, a community swimming pool, and meet family relatives to help them learn this essential skill. Children who start interacting at an early age are better at relationships, communication, expressing themselves, and know how to get things done through contact with others (Learning and Developing through Interactions, 2005).
Exploring the Gifted Abilities
Summer schools serve multiple benefits to students. It is not just a way to keep your children busy, but also helps them explore their true potential. In a research study, it was concluded that summer programs accelerate learning abilities and have a positive impact on knowledge, skills, and abilities (Cooper, 2000). Along with learning more about their environment, children also get to discover more about their own personality. In addition to that, students who feel behind their classmates in school can remediate their skills.
Practicing Skills Learned at School
Many parents perceive summer learning as less productive than school and believe that school is enough to teach their kids everything that they need to know. However, it is a proven fact that if you don’t practice a skill for a few weeks, you start losing it (More Than a Hunch: Kids Lose Learning Skills Overthe Summer Months, 2013). Similarly, parents should try to maintain match and maintain the school year timing and schedule so that they don’t find it difficult to go back to school.
Suggested Activities for Summer
· Call out the Inner Artist: Sketch a family portrait or an interesting view of the backyard. You never know – that could be your child’s future career.
· Act or Perform: Encourage your child to act out a short story or dance to a song. Do not be pushy, let your kid choose and decide.
· Cooking: Look for an easy homemade ice cream recipe and have your kid help mix things together. A step-by-step process helps enhance the memory.
· See if your kids have engineering skills: Gift your baby a new Lego or block game to see if he/she likes building structures.
· Is your child a magician? Teach some magic tricks to your little one and enjoy the Abracadabra magic spells. Performing magic tricks can help boost confidence and make your child more sociable.
Susan Hutchinson and Brenda Robertson (2012) Leisure Education: A New Goal for an Old Idea Whose Time Has Come
Witt, Campbell &Witt, (1981) A Manual of Therapeutic Group Activities for Leisure Education,
Cooper, H. C. (2000). Making the Most of Summer School: A Meta-Analytic and Narrative Review.
Learning and Developing through Interactions. (2005).
(2013). More Than a Hunch: Kids Lose Learning Skills Overthe Summer Months. National Summer Learning Association.
Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at - theravive.com.