FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT’S DESK
Plan Now for Summer to Give Your Child the Best Opportunities
Spring is finally here — though I wondered more than once over the past few months whether it would ever arrive, didn’t you? We’re just beginning to see green returning to trees that were bare, but just as surely as spring has replaced the winter, summer will come along before we know it. Now is a great time to start planning summer activities for your children, while registration lists and calendars are still open. Camps, sports programs, travel and other organized activities offer many wonderful benefits for kids — but spots can fill up quickly.
We all think of summer as a time for relaxing, and children as well as adults need to be able to enjoy some “down time.” But with too much free time, kids are likely to cool off from the heat by plopping down in front of the TV or grabbing the video game controller. Sure, a little time spent this way is fine, but children need physical exercise and mental stimulation for healthy development.
Camps, whether overnight or day programs, help children develop confidence as they’re challenged to try new things. Kids often discover their own previously untapped interests when they attend camp. Meeting new friends and engaging in fun group activities also helps them develop their social skills and feel a sense of belonging.
If your child enjoys a particular sport, you may want to consider a camp aimed at skill development. Sports camps and day programs can be a terrific way to help kids develop self-esteem as they improve their abilities in an activity they enjoy.
Traveling with your children or making arrangements for them to visit with out-of-town relatives or friends are other great ways to introduce new experiences. Family vacations to other countries or territories can be fantastic learning opportunities for kids. They’ll soak up history, cultural arts, language and more without even trying. If you do plan a trip, you might ask your kids to conduct a little research on the Internet — a few interesting facts about the area you’re traveling to can be the makings of a fun trivia game.
You don’t need to leave the country to provide your children with a wonderful travel experience. Plan an adventure, even if it’s a short driving trip. Depending on the ages of your children, you may even want to let them select the destination. Just give them a maximum travel distance, and once they’ve decided where they’d like to go, have them plan an itinerary. This works especially well with older children who may not show much enthusiasm at first for taking a family trip.
Here’s a suggestion for a cost-free way to provide some structure and interaction for your child this summer: If he or she has a special friend nearby, consider arranging an “exchange” with the other child’s family by offering to have their child stay with you for one week and vice versa. This can be a delightful treat for the two children, as well as a nice break for the parents.
Some children will have plenty of ideas of their own about what they’d like to do this summer, and some may be reluctant to participate in structured activities at all. If the latter describes your child, give him or her a few appealing options to choose from. Whatever your children’s interests are, you’ll be more likely to find great activities and programs if you begin well before that last school bell in June. #