Everyone knows summer vacation (as they still exist today) simply doesn’t make sense. There is oodles of research showing that children lose a lot of the skills they just gained in the past academic year, and opting into a summer enrichment program can be costly (and make your kids hate you). Plus, with many parents raising children as a single parent and/or with both parents working, finding childcare for your kids for nearly three months is challenging at best. How can you make the most of the season?
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First, know that quality doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with high cost. It’s important that you at least maintain the knowledge your children just soaked up in the past year, and ideally build upon it. There are many ways to do that, and they don’t have to involve summer school. When planning summer activities for the kids, focus on quality over quantity and don’t miss out on any scholarship opportunities.
Focus on what matters
If little Billy is a talented artist but wanting in the math department, should you sign him up for an advanced art class or the program that mixes creativity with math skills? In a perfect world, you’ll opt for both. The closer you are to a large city, the more options you’ll have available. However, the best time to start searching for these opportunities is right now (at the end of the summer season). Camps and classes fill up fast, as do any scholarships, and a year’s preparation is in order.
While it might seem easier to sign kids up for options they’ll love, it’s equally important to focus on where they need improvement. Combine their natural talents with their challenging areas for optimal results. However, kids are wired to think that summer equates to fun and a little R&R. Interview the managers of camps and classes to see how they incorporate the lazy days of summer into programming.
Use down time wisely
Everyone needs some time to kick back and relax, which is why it’s important for parents to actually use their vacation days. This can be prime time for reflection and for the brain to actually soak up all that information. Don’t overschedule kids during the summer, but do choose laid back activities which aren’t solely mind numbing. Get outside, exercise, explore the town like a tourist; just don’t depend on screens as babysitters more than a couple hours per day.