Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Brain Drain

Kids are like sponges. Don't let them dry out this summer.

"Brain drain" describes a phenomenon that occurs when kids are on extended vacation from school. Studies show that children tend to forget school lessons from the last month or two of school. Especially vulnerable are math skills.

This brain drain is not inevitable. Your response should be to engage your charges in intellectually stimulating activities during the summer and all year long.

Give the kids a leg up instead of starting a step behind. Anticipate the coming school year. Find out what the kids will be studying and engage the children on the subjects.

Keep the television turned off. Instead of watching television get the school’s summer reading list and go to the library. Discuss books the children are reading.

Don’t forget summer learning opportunities locally such as museums, the zoo, aquariums, concerts, and parks that you don’t usually get to attend during the school year.

Incorporate math into their daily lives. Sports statistics and cooking measurements are easy ways to teach math while engaged in everyday activities. Counting steps is another way to encourage math while boosting a healthy lifestyle. Counting apples and weighing produce while grocery shopping keeps young children using math skills. Paying with real money and counting the change helps older children learn an important life skill. Plus, have the children practice doing math problems they might have to do at school. Have them complete five to 10 math problems from a grade-appropriate workbook a few times a week.

Help the children make a summer journal. Allow children to snap photos of activities they do and places they visit using disposable or digital cameras. Then have them write down the fun things they do all summer long. Just a few sentences will suffice. Also encourage children to write postcards and letters to family and friends to practice writing this summer.

You should encourage a rich, stimulating and productive learning experiences for your charges during the summer so that they can get into the habit of applying themselves with focus and energy. If you keep it simple and fun children will do it for enjoyment and the positive reinforcement.

What are your favorite learning activities to do with children during the summer?


Anonymous said...

The parents have signed their children up for summer enrichment camp. Just a few hours every morning. Then I pick them up for lunch and we can still socialize with friends in the afternoons.

Anonymous said...

At my last job I made a summer journal. We did not make separate journals we made one the kids and I could add too. Parents grandparents and kids cherish it for years to come and keep parents thinking "Wow she was a great nanny!"

Sandi, CT

Anonymous said...

It is so great getting your newsletter. At all my other nanny positions I made good friends and met nannies that worked hard and loved their jobs. Now, I am surronded by bad attitude nannies in town that are stuck in their job hating it and not putting forth an extra effort to help the kids. I print out activiites and use books everyday. When I enthusiastically showed some nannies some academic fun projects I found in a book they scoffed saying I am wasting my time and money??? One lady said she wouldn't do it if the parents did not make her do it??

Thanks for encouraging others to keep the kids intellectually stimulated during the summer. Not every activity has to be a learning activity. But in my 10 hour day we certainly can find one learning project a day! Just like they need quiet time, physical activity, they need to be intellectually stimulated, and so on...
Holly, Hilton Head SC

Anonymous said...

The kids are going to camp all day, actually longer than a school day. So, not too much difference only we will go to the pool at times when hot and eat outside. I actually get more than 4 weeks paid vacation this summer so it's a breeze.
Nanny Monique
Staten Island, New York

Anonymous said...

The kids are signed up for some summer enrichment courses provided by the school system. Fun camp style fun while learning.

I have never planned specific academic learning myself for the children during the summer. But we do have "down time" every afternoon in the summer after summer enrichment camp when I read to the kids. Also the children have a whole bunch of fun learning games and projects the parents have bought them and we do them whenever it is a rainly day or we need to be indoors for a few hours.

We will go to the zoo, aquarium, on hikes which provide times to learn.

But, it is summer, so we spend a lot of time at the pool or in the sprinkler in the backyard, going to movies, bowling, library, and so on.

Judy, Philly

Rose Pomplun said...

We spend a lot of time outside. We love going to the Country Club to go swimming! The boys and I love going for walks and looking for cool looking bugs. When the days are too hot to go out, we do summer crafts, go bowling, or go to the library. The boys are expecting a baby brother the end of August, so I am doing a lot to help prepare them (especially the youngest) for when he comes home. Lots of things to do this summer!

Nanny Rose
Janesville, WI

Anonymous said...

The kids are going to every camp under ths sun. They are out of my hair and so busy it gives me time to run errands and such. It's great because the kids are happy and we all don't have to do homework!! But they attend summer academic camps so the pressure is off me, they are learning at camp and running more at camp, all around better than school I hate to admit.
Genelisa in Maine