What are the best things that parents of primary school aged children can do to ensure that their children are engaged over the summer holidays and ready to go back to school? This question has plagued parents for years. Fortunately, psychologists in child development may now have found the answer...
Enhance Their Memory
Researchers have found that two of the most effective ways to boost memory is called 'the testing effect' and 'spacing'. The testing effect describes the act of having to generate an answer to a question. This does not have to be anything formal. It can be as simple as answering a question, doing a multiple choice test or doing a past paper. Spacing refers to the concept of doing a little bit of revision often. The opposite of spacing, is cramming, where students try to do as much work (often just before exams) all at once.
By doing a bit of extra-curricular work in the holidays, students will ensure they take advantage of both strategies, ensuring that their ability to recall and retrain information is at its best. This doesn't have to be anything formal and most certainly shouldn't be stressful. Just a light touch to ensure they keep learning and practising key information will help.
Develop Their Mindset and Resilience
Some children believe that their ability and intelligence is set in stone and is relatively fixed. Others believe that it is malleable and can be developed over time. Research suggests that those who believe that they can get better are more likely to persist during difficult challenges, seek out better feedback, enjoy learning more and have higher levels of self-esteem. The summer holidays are an ideal time to help your child develop their mindset.
The roles of setbacks and disappointments shouldn't be under-estimated. It is through trying and failing that many of us learn the importance of persistence, resilience and the power of feedback. Encourage your child to take up a long term project where success won't come easy to them. This will help develop their mindset and appreciate the value of striving and succeeding.
Sleep Right, Think Right
Despite sleeping for about 20 years over our lifetime, most people aren't very good at it and probably don't get enough of it. The National Sleep Foundation recommend that primary school children get about 9-11 hours sleep a night. The importance of sleep shouldn't be underestimated, with a good night's sleep being linked to better memory, concentration, alertness, immune system and decision making.
During the summer holidays, sleep patterns tend to significantly shift, with children staying and waking up later. Although a little bit of leeway on this is expected, it is important to develop good sleeping patterns. This makes it much easier for when they go back to school. Common sleep mistakes for children include watching TV right up until bed, chaotic bedtime routines and waiting to fall asleep on the couch before being put to bed.
The thought of having to occupy your child for the whole summer can sometimes be a daunting one. Many are keen to do what they can to ensure the child hits the ground running when they go back to school. The summer holidays are a great time to refresh and recharge. With a careful bit of planning and subtle nudging from those around them, it can also be a great time to help develop key habits that will help them thrive and flourish when school starts again in September.
Download the following posters from Inner Drive for extra tips and support...