Give Your Children a Happy, Healthy Summer
An alarming number of children in kindergarten through 12th grade gain weight and fall further behind academically during the summer months. But your child doesn’t need to be one of them. Our list of do’s and don’ts for a productive summer will help your child keep learning.
Productive Summer Dos
- Bring your children up to grade level in every subject through your efforts or outside help from tutors, learning centers, online programs, or summer school.
- Every day, set aside a half-hour of family reading time, inviting everyone to gather in one room and read. Discussion isn’t necessary. However, it can be fun if several family members read the same books and/or magazines and talk about them. For example, consider the different perspectives you and your children might have on articles in People magazine. Try it out.
- Make summer a skill-building time for such non-academic activities as sports, music, dance, cooking, knitting, photography and whatever else interests your children. Gaining skills in any of these areas will help children build confidence in their abilities. Discovering strengths in other areas is especially important if your children are not academic superstars.
- Plan a variety of family-oriented activities, such as weekend hikes or bike outings, game nights, picnics, visits to historical sights and colleges, or attend sporting events and musical performances.
- Have daily household jobs for every child that contribute meaningfully to the running of your home.
Productive Summer Don’ts
- Let your children spend too much time on media entertainment, including TV, video games, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Let your children avoid fairly vigorous daily physical activity.
- Let your children eat a steady diet of unhealthy foods.
Know policies before selecting a school
I expect to be moving my kids to new schools over the summer. How do I find out about school policies and academic standing?
You definitely need this information, but you might not be able to get all of it until after the school year begins. Most schools put this type of information on their websites and in student handbooks, distributed at the beginning of the school year. Ask for one when you speak with school administrators. Once you receive the handbook, review it carefully. Look for answers to these questions:
- What is the attendance policy?
- How are absences and tardies handled?
- What are the dress and conduct codes?
- How does the school handle discipline problems? What are the punishments for breaking rules? Who carries out disciplinary actions?
- How are parents informed about school schedules, events, or problems?
- How are parents contacted in emergency situations?
- Is there a PTO newsletter?
- What facilities does the school have? Is there a library? What are its hours? What types of reference books are available for students? Is there access to computers?
- What types of special services does the school offer? Does it offer testing programs for vision, hearing and learning disabilities? Is there a guidance counselor? Is a school nurse available? Is there any kind of supervised before-school or after-school program for students?
- What extracurricular activities are available?
Want to know more about the schools you’re considering? Visit memphisparent.com or memphisschoolguide.org.
Margaret Eberts and Peggy Gisler