8 Things to Do This Summer to Help  Your Child be a Better Learner Next Fall

By Karen Jacobson, MA, LCPC, LMFT

Summer is a time for everyone to relax, kick back and have fun.  Parents can ensure that their kids not only get the most out of this stress-free time, but also continue to develop skills that will be helpful in the fall.  These 8 tips will help you be more conscious about your parenting while having a connected and fun summer that is full of growth.

1.       Create and maintain strong and positive relationships with each child – Your child wants to feel connected to you more than anything.  Connection happens in many ways.  Try spending time together, noticing, enjoying, relaxing, cuddling, reading, listening, laughing and having fun with each of your children.

2.       Have child do chores (without paying them or nagging them)

Chores are the single most powerful thing kids can do at home to improve academic performance at school.  Chores:

·         fulfill the need to be needed

·         Provide a sense of purpose

·         Teach that there is no such thing as a free meal

·         Teach struggle, perseverance, and responsibility

·         Offer kids a chance to accomplish something and feel proud

·         Help kids experience the reward and accomplishment of work.

3.       Teach kids that success comes from hard work

Kids who do well in school believe that success is in their control. Verbally recognize your child’s effort and perseverance through struggle.  For example:

You sat for 10 minutes at the dinner table.”

“It was a long, hot baseball practice, but you hung in there and made it through.”

“You hit the ball twice during today’s game. I can tell you’ve been practicing.”

“You made your bed all by yourself.”

“You worked hard helping daddy clean out the garage.  We got a lot done together.”

4.       Model your own joy for learning and talk with excitement about your work or interests.

5.       Set aside time for family learning – During this time, everyone in the family participates in a learning activity that is not electronic.  Model excitement about your learning as you  read,, write a letter, look thru a cookbook, or learn a new craft, etc.

6.       Limit amount of time spent in front of TV, video games and computer and increase amount of unstructured, downtime for kids.  This will allow your children more time to use their imagination and creativity.  It will increase their independence and develop their initiation.  

7.       Increase children’s time in nature.  Being in nature is good for the soul and helps children stay connected to themselves. 

8.       Allow kids to struggle – kids develop confidence and  “a good self – concept” when they attempt something they believe is too difficult, struggle through it and succeed.  Most parents want to protect their children from painful experiences butprotection can come with a cost.  Children who are shielded from experiencing life’s disappointments and painful experiences grow up believing that they can’t handle challenges.  Children take their cues from their parents.  If we believe they are resilient, they feel resilient.  If we believe they’re weak, they develop this limiting belief about themselves.

For more information about our online parenting course or parent coaching, contact Karen Jacobson, MA, LCPC, LMFT at 312-330-3194, Karen@parentingperspectives.com or Lauren Bondy, LCSW at 847-562-9503, Lauren@parentingperspectives.com. Or, visit www.parentingperspectives.com