Summer holidays are here and sometimes everything seems to go into "lazy mode", but this is not always the best solution and can make back-to-school time that much harder. So here are 5-reasons to keep your child involved with a structured activity over the summer:
1) Routine is important - Adults benefit greatly from routine, and kids much more so. If summer is a time to do whatever, whenever then going back to a routine is that much harder. Retaining some sort of structured activity over the summer months is a great way to keep things in check.
2) Learning shouldn’t take breaks - A very important key to success is to keep learning, all the time. Time off from "required" things allows us to focus on things we have a interest in. If we build the habit early of using down time to pursue other things we are setting kids up for success.
3) Avoiding anxiety about returning - Back-to-school can be a stressful experience, especially when a child has been more isolated to a smaller group of friends and taken a break from "learning". By keeping them involved in structured activities, or even starting a new activity they retain a larger social circle of peers which helps build confidence rather then losing it over the summer.
4) A time to shine in the fall - By maintaining extracurricular involvement over the summer your child will have a opportunity to gain a huge confidence boast in the fall. Fall is when new kids join activities and kids that did take a break return, and generally with some confusion and anxiety about doing so. The kids that where active over the summer have the opportunity to take on leadership and mentoring rules early and gain a boast of confidence from starting the fall off at a higher level then their peers.
5) Sometimes, you just have to do it - This is a lesson that sometimes gets forgotten by kids over the summer. During the rest of the year there are all sorts of things they have to do. No one lets their kids stay home from school because they would rather play video games that day, it’s not a option. But after a summer of not having any activities it can be very hard to rebuild that routine again in the fall. Sometimes as adults we have to make sure that what’s best gets done, not what seems easiest at that moment.
Now kids should definitely get plenty of unstructured free time over the summer. Exploring, being bored and having to figure out what to do about it are essential skills that need to be learnt. Sometimes its even a good idea to take away pieces of the structure to force those skills. For example taking away video games and tv’s will force a child to find other ways to occupy themselves, which can be hard to do as they will often complain about that boredom until they figure out what to do with themselves. During much of the year many children have "too much" structure.
But, during both the summer and the school year it is good to retain a balance of both. There may be times where there is more structure, and times where there is less. But going from extreme to extreme is going to be stressful for the child and the parents.