Summer is second only to Christmas for kids.
Long days coupled with no homework make for a recipe for fun. Whether swimming in a river or a swimming pool or running through a sprinkler or a fire hydrant being depressurized, summer is magical. And it is really hard to believe but summer is halfway over already!
As we near the middle part of July and begin looking towards preparation for back-to-school shopping, it is a great time to take stock of your summer and begin challenging your kids to get back into mental shape. If you have a son on the football team or a daughter playing volleyball, you are probably encouraging them to get out and start running and get into shape for the practices that are likely to begin within the month. If they show up to two-a-days out of shape they are going to be in for a world of hurt!
Have you ever stopped and thought about the need to get your kids back into mental shape for school? After all, long days with few obligations and minimal structure can lead to a lack of personal discipline, and then school starts and the rigidity of the schedule coupled with the demands of the classroom kick in. We have kids getting mental brain cramps just like the kids who aren’t prepared physically for the start of the season. Every school year begins with exhausted kids who have not gotten their bodies readjusted to getting to bed on time and getting enough sleep. We have kids who didn’t read over the summer and have gotten out of practice in regards to reading and remembering. We have kids who have let their eating schedule slide, and they are starving by the time lunch finally arrives on the first day of school because at home they spent the full morning snacking rather than eating breakfast.
Are your kids out of school-shape? If so, now is the perfect time to begin planning for and even implementing a back-to-school regimen. This isn’t meant to short circuit summer or tarnish its shining star of freedom but instead it is meant to begin the process of getting kids ready to learn again. Here are a few easy tips to begin getting your kids back into mental shape for school:
It sounds simple but reading forces concentration but it also engages the mind’s imagination. Reading should be a joy, and there are no better times to read than in the heat of a summer day. Take your kids to the library and let them find a book that excites them, and then carve out 20-30 minutes during the day and let them sit with their book and reengage their mind.
Summer is a great time for cookouts and sleeping past breakfast and letting ice cream be the afternoon snack. The problem with this is that once school starts, your kids can’t just pull out a snack any time they want. When you begin to get within weeks of school starting it is time to begin retraining the body for 3 meals a day, and it is also time to begin lessening the candy and cokes. A good diet makes it much easier to prepare and maintain a good mind.
Some parents lose sight of the fact that schools are a highly socialized environment in which your kids are around hundreds of other kids for hours every day. This takes getting used to. Begin making time now for your kids to get together with groups of friends, and begin practicing group talking and playing and cooperation. These are skills that can become rusty when they are not practiced, and if they are too rusty when the school year begins it can make for a rocky start.
Some kids, and even parents, treat the countdown to school as a death march. Change this mindset and focus on the things that your kids love about school; help them begin to look forward to being back with their friends, learning their favorite subject, playing sports, etc. Help your kids have a positive attitude about school so that they walk in that first day in the right frame of mind.
Life rewards the prepared and school is no exception. Take stock in your kids’ current mental shape and see if it is time to begin engaging and exercising their minds, bodies, spirits, and attitudes so that they walk into the first day of school confident, happy, and ready to learn. Summer is still here, but school will be back before you know it!