Provide for Activities that Encourage lots of Physical Exercise
Current research suggests that there is a direct link to physical exercise and academic excellence. It has been noted that “physical activity may reduce boredom and increase attention span and concentration,” according to a study done by assistant professor of exercise science, Dawn Cole, at Grand Valley State University. In addition, “increased activity levels may also lead to higher self-esteem, which then eventually relates to overall academic performance.” Some of the recommended activities include swimming, tennis, gymnastics/tumbling, dance and creative movement, all of which help to increase vigorous activity levels.
Minimize Time in Front of the Television/DVD Player and Computer
When we allow our children to spend an excessive amount of time watching television/videos or playing games at the computer, we will begin to see an obvious alteration of behavior, attitude and mood in them. A young child, who sits in front of a television or computer for long periods of time, appears almost fixated on the screen and somewhat oblivious to his/her surroundings. As the impressions on the screen enter the sensitive mind of the child, they begin to form all sorts of perceptions, some of which are incomprehensible, but nevertheless they are there “incarnating themselves in him.” Soon thereafter those models of behavior and social interactions become what the child understands as “normal”, and therefore he/she now acts accordingly. Certainly, parents do not want this for their child.
How about limiting your child’s TV time or computer time to 1/2 hour per day at most? It may sound revolutionary, but try it for two weeks and see if your child isn’t more peaceful, contained and relaxed, possibly thinking more himself that he has, more interested in family social interactions, exhibiting more positive characteristics, and displaying more developmentally appropriate behavior.
Provide Opportunities for Exposure to the Arts
Experiences centered around the arts have proven to increase both student academic achievement, as well as social development. When a child is given the opportunity to take part in a well-crafted program, where the arts are the focus, “the skill and craft gained from the experience will help the student to understand that they can work toward their own self-improvement, and that their heightened skill can give pleasure to themselves and to others.” Research also supports a “direct link between the role of the arts in assisting academic skills, including basic literacy, both verbally and with numbers.” Lastly, the positive social effects gained from an arts program, where the children learn to work together as a cooperative community, are evident when the experience involves developmentally appropriate activities which are more child-centered, rather than adult-directed.
Respect the Rhythm of the Child
Remember to always create a balance, so that the child’s summer is NOT over-structured with activities. Respect the rhythm of the child, who needs lots of time to grow in a supportive “self-paced” environment.
Have a great summer!