Organization is a skill best learned early in life. It is a skill that prepares children to be more productive in and outside of the classroom and into their adult lives. Summer offers a unique set of challenges for parents trying to keep children organized and prepared for the fall semester. Children have a lot more free time on their hands during the break, and it can often be draining to maintain their day-to-day activities while also helping them focus on what is important. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, helping children organize summer fun can be quite rewarding and present a host of learning experiences.
Schedule Fun First do the fun stuff. Together with children, come up with a list of activities and summertime “to-dos” the family wants and can afford to do this summer. Then map them out on a calendar so children know when the trip to the zoo is coming up and when the skate park is on the agenda. Keeping a schedule of major summertime activities helps remind children when the overly anticipated events are coming up, such as a trip to an amusement park. This will help eliminate the random question, “Can we go to the amusement park today?” and prevents parents from having to say, “No, not today.” Parents hate using the word “no” just as much as children hate having to hear it. Schedule a Daily Time to Learn, Kumon and Explore After you have established the all the fun stuff your family wants to do, sit down together and schedule times for reading, Kumon and exploring new areas of interest. Having a daily time for children to learn will allow them to plan the rest of the day and ensure learning is a part of their daily routine. Explain that this time will be used to work on Kumon Worksheets or to work on any summer assignments the school may have sent home with children. Sticking to the routine the family has mapped out will ensure children make the most of the free time summer provides while still advancing in Kumon and learning new things.
Limit the Tube Listen to what A.C. Nielsen Co. says about how much TV children are watching: Children in the U.S. watch an average of four hours of television each day. Four hours each day spent sitting on the couch. In the same study, it was determined that students in the U.S. spend 900 hours per year in school and 1500 hours per year in front of the tube! Limiting the time children sit in front of video games, TV or computer can greatly increase the time they have to engage in far healthier pursuits – for both the mind and body. Begin modestly – by cutting down TV and video game time to two hours a day total. This will free up the equivalent of an entire month, which can be dedicated to learning, bicycle riding, hiking or connecting with family. At a time when childhood diabetes and obesity rates among North American children continue torise, it’s increasingly vital for parents to promote physical activity and daily exercise. An entire month is a lot of time that can be spent enhancing physical and mental health and well-being. Follow Through Stick to the schedules and routines the family has committed to this summer. According to the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, routines influence children’s emotional, cognitive and social development. Also, schedules help children understand the expectations of the environment and reduce the frequency of behavioral problems. Learning the value of routine early in life will give students skills that will carry them far into the future. Parents may have to wait until college rolls around to be thanked for this hard work, but one day the thanks will come. Being well-organized, creating a plan and following through with commitments are key life skills that help all children and adults achieve goals and aim for success.