Trying to motivate your kids to learn over the summer? It seems like a lost cause sometimes. I get stressed out knowing that I’m responsible for my kids learning all.summer.long, In fact, as early as April I get “PTSD” (Pre Traumatic Summer Disorder). I start signing up for camps, swim team, and Vacation Bible School…. like a crazy woman. Those activities only go on for a period of time, the rest is up to me! Is it all about me? Sure seems that way when I read what I just wrote. 🙂 What to do? Let’s start with the basics.
1. Structure and Routine: If this is as far as you get in this post today, it might be the best part! Your kids thrive on structure and routine. Trust me. If you think you’d like to see samples of routines and links to printable schedules, click here. A key to scheduling is FREE TIME. We’ve learned to enjoy those two little words, who knew they could be so powerful! *Make sure you include exercise in your schedule early in the day (family bike ride, walk to the park). It gets everyone off on the right foot. We love to use our silent timer when needed too.
2. “Hope is not a strategy” This is actually a football term, but it fits in well with parenting. We don’t “hope” that our kids are going to do well, we work hard! We plan. Think for a minute, “What do I intend to help my kids improve over the summer?” Planning ahead allows me to be more intentional in my parenting. #truth
3. How do you plan? First, get out your calendar. I prefer a real, paper calendar that so that I can visually see what’s happening. I list every single thing I can think of from vacations to grandparents visiting. Second, I gather all of the info I’m about to share (Choose the best activities from Life Skills and School Skills). Last, I develop a plan of attack!
4. Achieving the balance between fun and school skills. Research has stated that children can lose up to 2.5 months of knowledge over the summer. I’m not expecting you to teach a myriad of new things to your child, let’s just help them maintain what they alrea. Your two key tools are: Life Skills and School Skills.
The entire reason I started Busy Kids Happy Mom was to keep my Summer Points materials all in one place. It’s also one of the main reasons I collaborated on the Summer Backyard Camp ebook with other bloggers. Click here.
Plan (with the entire family)
- Choose the Best Activities (Life Skills and School Skills) and look at the report card. Highlight the ones that best fit your child. Have a variety to choose from.
- Choose long term goals (ex. swimming across pool) & short term goals (jumping in the pool)
- Assign Point Values (make sure there are extra activities to choose from)
- Decide on Prizes – brainstorm with your child to see what her is most interested in working towards. Save the best for last. Click here for more ideas on how to set up prizes.
- Choose a start and end date (important!) – end mid August
- Begin and track progress! (simple chart, tally, pretend money, tokens, Wall of Fame, tickets, Mom Money) A simple chart will work or a large poster, just make sure you’re tracking the growth. Want a challenge for yourself? Check out Mom Points!
- Have Fun!
If you set high goals and expectations they will rise to the meet them. No goals or expectations and they will lower themselves to that standard.
Please note: If all of this is overwhelming to you – my suggestion is set a schedule, buy a workbook, and try something new 1 time a week.
Time Timer – The Time Timer is a secret-to-success tool used by teachers and parents everywhere. Mine sits next to the laptop for computer time. It’s silent and visual. The kids can see their times slipping away. When times up, there’s a quiet little beep. Perfect.
More links to check out to prepare for summer fun and enrichment:
|Life Skills – the “skills they don’t teach at school” are great to teach in the summer here. Find the list here age by age, ideas for everything from getting yourself dressed to learning to cook.|
|Schedule your day! I wrote all about that here and how much your children will appreciate the structure.|
|Check out these School Skills here to see what your child should be working on.|
|Understanding Book Levels|
|Summer Bridge Activity Books and Review|
Math workbook ideas, click here for ideas from Pragmatic Mom.
Kristen is the writer and creator behind Busy Kids Happy Mom. The site started in 2011 as a way to share Summer learning and enrichment ideas. First it started with Summer Points, Life Skills were added and now DIY Summer School. All of these activities have similar characteristics, the main theme being to Make Summer Count! She is an Elementary Reading Specialist and the mother of 2 boys!
Follow Kristen on Facebook, Pinterest, and Busy Kids Happy Mom.