During the school year, we coax, push and sometimes carry our children toward the goals set for them. The hustle and bustle during the school year can prevent us from recognizing growth in our children and other changes that may require an adjustment in goals. The summer break gives us the chance to take a quiet look to see changes our children have made, new interests they have developed as well as areas of concern that may need attention. It also ‘gifts’ the entire family opportunities to connect, learn and grow together.
Special one-on-one time is an easy and effective way to connect with your child. Take time on a regular basis to talk, play games, do a craft, or go on special “mom and me” outings. Summer break gives us more time to explore questions, learn something new, and simply laugh with our children. Taking the time to make eye contact and carefully listen will affirm your child, and build self-esteem, confidence and trust; which will diminish power struggles and strengthen your relationship.
Another great gift of summer is the freedom to investigate your child’s interests. No time during the school year for a sport, fine art or other new interest? Allow your child to sample them through summer mini-camps or workshops. The value you place on exploring new interests will cultivate curiosity and courage in your child. Who knows? Maybe the seeds of a lifelong passion or future career will sprout in a camp this summer!
Make summer learning a fun family affair through outings to museums, theaters, parks, or historic sites. Studies show that ‘field trips’ improve student development, including critical thinking skills.[i] Enhance the experience by creating scavenger hunts and keeping journals about your experiences. At the end of the break, take note of family favorites for future fun.
Volunteer as a family. Grow closer while working side-by-side to support a local shelter, food bank or library. Allow your child to participate in selecting or creating the service project. This will actively engage your child in a worthwhile family activity while teaching responsibility, compassion, and leadership.
Enjoy the gifts of summer with your family!
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