The five things your kid needs to do this summer
Try these to keep your child healthily occupied.
And just like that, summer is upon you! Now you have a houseful of kids who have lots of unstructured time, and you still have work and responsibilities to maintain. What to do! Catholic Online has your solution with this top 5 list of summer activities for you to keep your kids occupied, and learning during the summer.
Soon you'll be looking forward to your kid's next summer vacation!
So what is a parent to do? Here are some great ideas for Catholic families.
5. Summer reading - Nobody's saying Johnny can't play his video games, but as with all things, moderation is key. Summer reading is a great way to keep kids occupied and focused on learning. Start with your home library, or if you don't have books handy, visit the local library. If you have the money to spend, the bookstore also has the latest and greatest for kids of all ages and can make good recommendations. You can also network with local families to borrow and exchange books. Your local parish may also have a few books available.
Perhaps the best idea would be to call your local Catholic school, even if your child isn't enrolled there. Ask for their summer reading list, or look for one online. That reading list will have books that are properly vetted, age appropriate, and popular with kids. Books on such lists are widely and cheaply available online and in bookstores.
Set a schedule, and if you can, read the book along with your child. Books suggested by the school will commonly feature topics worth discussing and the conversations you enjoy with your child will provide a chance to bond over ice cream and sodas on the porch.
There's no law however that says the reading has to be intense. Summer reading should be enjoyable and if done right, your child will look forward to it. Make sure the books are interesting to your child, which is very important. Even kids that don't care to read will still read if you find something that interests them. Be patient and keep trying. This is a great time to let them explore their natural interests and to discover new ones. Simply allowing your child to discover the joy of browsing in the library or bookstore will create a fond and lasting memory and help them to associate reading with fun.
4. Videos - In addition to reading, watching videos can be a great way to buy downtime from your kids. Of course, every family is familiar with using the TV as a babysitter, and from time to time it can really allow you to get things done and preserve your sanity. But television content is widely varied and it's easy to let kids get hooked on hours and hours of Disney or Nickelodeon without picking up anything of substance except an instable desire for the latest fashion or toy.
The good news is, you can control what they watch. Catholic videos as well as various educational media is widely available. PBS, National Geographic, as well as several channels featuring documentaries have content that is (normally) suitable for children. Although in all cases, you should screen the content in advance.
Again, networking with other parents and your parish church is a good idea. Local libraries also offer media in various forms for check out.
Study guides and other supplemental materials can sometimes be found online for some educational videos. View this as a chance to learn alongside your child and you'll be on the right track.
3. Sports activities - Naturally, summertime is a great time to get the kids out of the house altogether and outside where they can get some physical exercise. Too many kids struggle with sedentary lifestyles facilitated by videogames and television. The end result is never positive.
To keep your kid healthy, active, and occupied, sports are a great idea. Many communities offer outdoor activities for kids, typically through local parks. Sports leagues offer signups early in the summer, and swimming lessons are also popular.
If you don't want to join a league or commit to a regular schedule, encourage your child to simply play outside. Whether it's practicing hoops in the driveway, pitching baseballs through a tire, or even playing at the park, nearly all outdoor activity is good activity. Make sure your child is supervised, or if older at least knows to check in on a schedule and remain in a safe area with familiar people. In any case, get your kid outside for some play, everyday.
2. Field trips - There's a lot to do out there, no matter where you live. Field trips are a great way to get your kid out of the house and into something that's fun, and above all, ...
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