This post was sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club of America as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.
Summertime is coming soon and all of us parents have the same question: What to do with the kids once school is out? Suddenly, they are around 24/7. My youngest likes to grab me when I’m right in the middle of an article and beg me to put my Mac in “sleep” mode.
Plus, summer tends to make their minds lazy. If you have kids with learning disabilities, you know all too well how easy it is for them to drift away and forget everything they learned. We have nothing planned for the long, hot month of August for the kids, one who is a super-genius at math (no exaggeration) and one who hates math with all her heart. Sadly, neither of them likes to read. (Although there are some reading tips I have tried that worked!)
So while it’s critical that I keep them up on nutrition and health habits, it’s also important to use these summer months to stimulate their brain. We have to move past the “sitting around the house” sluggishness brought on by the heat.
6 Ways for Kids to Beat Summer Brain Drain
In my house, we’ll be working to combat heat, boredom and summer brain drain. Each of my kids is armed with her own tablet, so this summer I’m going to change it up and fight summer brain drain this way:
1. Relax for June.
After the really challenging school year we had this spring, I decided to take a break. We all are OK with a few days of sitting around and resting. We are on vacation this month, so for the few days heading up, I’m relaxing my tech/TV policies. They’ll be back in effect after vacation!
2. Summer “If/Then” Rules After the 4th of July
I’m creating a first/then list for them – after we’re back from vacation, that is. It will outline what they need to do before the TV or tech goes on, including outdoor time, study time and chores. Of course, days, when it’s way too hot, are exempt from outdoor play but NOT rainy days, since my kids love going out in the rain.
3. Arts & Crafts
For a lot of you, this is a no-brainer, but I don’t like arts and crafts myself. Really, I’d rather be reading! So I simply went to Walmart and stocked up on the one thing they like best: painting supplies. Lots of paper, brushes and big jars of paint makes it easy for them to be distracted so I can work and they can be happy.
4. Implement Allowance Earning Schedule
We’ve discussed with the schools starting positive reinforcement systems (token systems) using real money. This will serve the triple duty of life skills, math acumen, and behavior modification. It will kick them off if I start an allowance system at home to prep them this summer.
5. Cooking Practice
If I sit them down with goodies, I can read or tell them anything – and they more likely to eat anything they cook themselves! We will be doing other life skills too, and I’ll be teaching about faith while they eat the goods they made.
6. Out of school programming
My kids attend extended school year, but that, combined with sleep, really only takes up about 10% of the whole summer! How do we engage our kids in stimulating learning? How do I tap into my daughter’s gifted math abilities?
There is an answer! The Boys & Girls Club of America feature summer (and after school) programs with their new My.Future platforms. They have been leaders in this kind of programming for 150 years. If you have a kid like mine who just LOVES math, you might want to explore this program. My.Future allows Boys & Girl Club Members to log in and earn badges as they explore, build and communication topics like programming, photography and Internet safety. It allows kids to check out lots of STEM options and may spark interest in a future STEM career. This is so important for girls and even more so today. STEM jobs are expected to grow in the U.S. twice as fast other fields by 201. Autistic kids like mine who shine in these subjects can be on the front lines of cutting-edge careers with this kind of quality summer and after-school programming.
The bottom line is that I don’t want to waste the next 12 weeks with my kids bored or 24/7 videos while my husband and I work. In addition to taking time with them, I’ll be helping them grow their brains and interests. With Amelia changing to a public school, that will be really critical!
What do you do over the summer to prevent dreaded summer brain drain and burnout from happening to your kids? (And don’t forget moms, summer brain drain can happen to you too!)