Summer vacation can be both a student’s long-awaited dream-come-true and an anxiety-riddled nightmare.
For many kids, they get to enjoy the unbeatable pleasure of sleeping in a little extra and having no homework to do while relishing greater control over their day-to-day lives.
With no school, however, the social element that plays such a crucial role in a child’s development often falls by the wayside. Some kids watch their friends go away on vacation or pick up summer jobs while they’re left at home with little face-to-face social interaction and nothing to do except mindlessly stare into their phone watching the latest viral vids. This ennui can lead to lethargy and have a negative impact on both your child’s physical and emotional wellness.
The best way to put a crack in your child’s boredom and get them out of their shell is to introduce some sense of structure to their “endless” summer days. Use the summer break to train them in ways to become more self-sufficient. For example, institute a rule that they can’t touch their electronics until they invest 30 minutes into doing some housework, practice a musical instrument or read a good, old-fashioned book.
If they’re old enough, delegate them the responsibly of making their own lunch… and cleaning up afterward. Then institute a few more “electronics breaks” throughout the day, which again can be invested in an activity at home that will not only cut through the boredom but enrich them in priceless life skills.
Two education pillars that are near and dear to our heart at Snow Cloud are money management and Social & Emotional Learning (SEL).
We believe these are two of the main foundational principles that help guide kids towards capable, well-adjusted and successful lives in adulthood. Our Replicated Reality platform is an excellent, hands-on resource for teaching these skills, and these important avenues of learning shouldn’t just switch off when the calendar flips to summer.
Here are some ideas to help keep your child engaged over the summer while using their “downtime” to build greater maturity and character.
Did you know that 87% of teenagers in the US admit not understanding their finances? That’s downright scary! Snow Cloud’s innovative Replicate Reality tool is a robust solution that effectively addresses the financial literacy gap in today’s school curriculums, and you could also help bridge the gap by incorporating some money management lessons into your child’s summer vacation.
For younger kids, you could teach them the value of money and how it works, how to develop a spending plan against their allowance, and the benefits of comparison shopping. For older kids, graduate them to the ins and outs of banking, how credit works, how to save for a rainy day and more.
Visa has developed a Practical Money Skills website that features some excellent resources for kids including worksheets that they can complete at home. The time they invest in learning about money management over the summer will pay huge dividends for the rest of their life.
Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)
Social & Emotional Learning is a life-long investment. An exhaustive 2011 study that included over 270,000 students found that participation in SEL programs doesn’t just improve students’ performances at school but has a lasting impact on students’ lives and on school communities.
Summer vacation is actually one of the best times for kids to focus on SEL. Away from classroom distractions and the pressures of academic work, it’s easier for kids to look inward and focus on SEL skills such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship-building and more.
There are a number of ways to incorporate SEL into their summertime downtime, and home is the perfect place to make it happen. A great place to start is to create an activity that gives your child the power, which helps build skills such as responsibly and decision-making.
How about putting them in charge of today’s lunch or dinner – they not only get to pick the menu but have to do all the prep, cooking and cleanup involved. This is a fun way to teach responsibility while creating a genuine sense of purpose, achievement and success. You could even incorporate a money management element and set a financial budget for the meal, then take them shopping for the ingredients so they can learn how much groceries cost and how to make financial compromises.
Another perfect SEL outlet is right at your doorstep: your garden. Have your kid pick out a small plant or two from a local nursery and show them how to plant it in the garden. Now they’re in charge of watering it and caring for it as they watch it grow throughout the summer. And if they’ve selected something edible as their garden project, they’ll literally get to enjoy the fruit of their labor when it’s ready to harvest.
Whatever activities you choose to help keep your child engaged during the summer, make sure they’re fun, light and as “un-school” as possible. After all, it’s their summer vacation – they’ve deserve it.
Have any questions about financial literacy and/or social and emotional learning tools? Contact us today to learn how Snow Cloud gives students the skills for life after school.