- Written by Dr. Susan Bartell
However, the relaxed nature of the summer months and the reduced pressure on kids to perform academically and socially makes it the perfect time for you to teach your child the all importance 'skills of summer': patience and perseverance. In fact, these traits will take your child far in life and you can use summer activities to begin instilling them in your child, beginning as young as two or three years.
Building sand castles takes a great deal of patience, time and effort. Encourage your child to work on a castle, fort or tunnel for more than a few minutes. Show enthusiasm for your child's sand creation and, if necessary, teach them some ways to build that they may not yet know. Sand castle building may seem trivial to you, but the time and effort required to be successful is no different than the energy you may exert on an important work project. Mastering the patience, focus and perseverance needed for this activity will benefit your child for years to come.
Learning to swim or mastering a swimming technique can be extremely challenging for any child. The fear of drowning is naturally a hurdle for any beginning swimmer, and may also impact upon a child who needs to master jumping or diving into the pool. For parents, helping a child overcome this fear can seem like a monumental task, especially when a child cries, tantrums or downright refuses to even try. In this situation, it is you that must be patient! Helping your child work through this significant fear is not just about swimming. It will teach them that they have the ability to persevere and achieve success even in those areas of life that may seem insurmountable.
Playing outside is the hallmark of summer as far as parents are concerned. We want our child to appreciate and savor every minute of the beautiful weather. However, perhaps you are one of the many parents met with arguments, by a child who would much rather spend the summer watching TV, or playing video games on the computer. When the nagging for screen time begins, please, please resist the urge to give in simply because it's the path of least resistance. Encouraging your child to play, without having media as a crutch, will give your child the opportunity to temporarily inhabit a calmer, less frenetic world. Your child will develop the patience to tap into their inner creativity. They will learn how to persevere and become terrific at any number of skills - bike riding, searching for worms, swinging as high as possible or packing the perfect picnic lunch. And isn't that what summer is all about!