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1. Summer vacation offers families dilemmas and opportunities. For too many kids it becomes a period of intellectual passivity and stalled personal growth. For others -and theft’ parents it’s a time of overload and frantic scheduling.
2.“Summer is a great time for parents to build the relationship with their children,” says a renowned child psychologist. And it’s an opportunity both for the kids to learn and for the family to grow together. To make this a reality, educators and psychologists point to several simple strategies that parents can start planning before summer gets underway.
3.”Summer’s a perfect time for kids to take skills they’ve learnt in a classroom and use them in new ways: notes well-known educators. Comparing prices in a grocery shop can sharpen children’s mental maths skills. Taking measurement to build a new trees house or design a simple plaything teaches geometry. Car trips provided opportunities to study maps and learn geography. Some libraries offer free summer reading programmes for children.
4. Sometimes kids Al-idd a small push in their direction. Victoria encouraged her seven-year-old son, Philip to take part in their local library’s summer reading club. For every book report a child wrote, he received a raffle ticket. At the end of the summer, sports prizes were raffled off. Philip, who’d painstakingly produced seven books reports, won an autographed picture of a hockey star and had his name and one of his reports printed in the local newspaper. If that’s not possible, encourage children to write letters to editors on current affairs, or about school-related issues. “Philip moaned and groaned about writing the reports, but in the end, he was happy he put the effort in”, notes his mother. “And his ability to express himself really improved.”
5. It’s the daily doses of stimulation – intellectual, creative, esteem-building – that parents can be given their children that have the greatest impact,’ Says an eminent researcher. In an informal study conducted in 1998 other types of research surveyed successful college students about how they spent their free time from ages 5 to 12. then compared their activities with those of troubled youngsters. They found that the successful ones were more likely to play spontaneous games, more involved in household chores and more likely to engage in playful activities with their parents. Troubled youngsters spent far less time on chores or family games and more time on their own, planted in front of T.V. or video games.
6. Often, when parents are drawing up their summer plans, their focus is.on entertaining and enriching their children. But experts agree that a summer built completely around a child’s self-fulfilment won’t help a youngster mature into a high thinking, caring member of his family or community. Truly successful kids say educators are those who’ve learnt to budget time to help others – whether it’s helping an invalid neighbour or preparing their own family’s meals a couple of nights a week. Where parents fail, say, experts, is in the way such responsibilities are presented. Too often, they’re trotted out as punishments instead of challenges. To make matters worse, parents often nag the child about the task, rather than simply setting a completion deadline and allowing the youngster to decide when and how he will meet it.
7. For most parents of school-age kids, the largest block of time they’ll have with their children is in the summer with a little advance preparation, parents can use the summer to help develop their youngsters into smarter, more creative, more caring human beings.