Keep Children’s Brains Engaged This Summer

Summer vacation always seems to go by quickly. But from an academic perspective, three months off from school is a long time and can cause kids to lose some of their academic edge.

Research shows that the biggest impact on student academic achievement is made when families engage in learning activities that reflect the work children do in school. The summer break is an excellent opportunity for parents to reinforce their children’s learning and help prepare them for the year ahead.

You can help minimize learning loss over the summer months by staying engaged in your children’s learning.

Most public libraries have summer reading programs that are free and families can take advantage of other free library resources even if they don’t participate. If you know what books your child will be reading in the fall, you can help her by picking up other works by the same author or books from the same era. Have your child write a short book report discussing the novel she read.

Take your child camping near a lake, river or at a national park. You can introduce the forest, lake or wetland ecosystem to your child. Ask him what he knows about the food chain in the forest and which animals he can name from the ecosystem.

You might take the kids on a guided tour of a historical landmark or of the old part of a city. Choose a tour that introduces the history of the area or landmark and have a discussion with your child about life at that time. You can also take your child to a history or war museum and explore the different exhibits together.

Put aside some time for your kids to express themselves artistically. If they are interested in music or visual arts, get them an instrument or a paint set or take them outside to paint from nature.

And there is always the zoo or natural history museum.  Discuss the animals, their habitat, food and place in the ecosystem. If you are taking your child to a natural history museum, you can also introduce or discuss the science of evolution and the fate of extinct animals like the dinosaurs.

To give your child an additional boost, contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. Dr. Stewart and staff help students of all ages improve their study, reading and cognitive skills—now at two locations: The Brain Development Center in Novi and Optiminds in Southfield.

You can learn more about the Brain Development Center at: http://novipsych.com/brain_development and Optiminds at: www.optimindsct.com.

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