|Photo Credit: Amazon.com The Cuddle Book|
You may have heard of the bad news of “brain drain” during the three summer months that your children have for vacation from Parents magazine. As a former classroom teacher, literacy tutor and library-trained storyteller for children I can tell you that you do not need to panic.
Disclosure: I have not received compensation of any kind to promote a company, brand, product or blog.
Like my Anthropology Professor said, “You have all the right ingredients to be a teacher.” Most likely your children are learning from you already.
How? They observe how you take care of your responsibilities, groom, eat, keep fit, recreate and make decisions.
If you would like to be more deliberate in the lessons you impart here are 3 Easy Ways to Lead children or adults:
1. Inspire a Vision & Recruit
2. Clarify the Steps
3. Celebrate Milestones
These leadership concepts are adapted from Leadership Challenge by Kouzes. It has proven useful to me during and after business school, at the office and when “edutaining” children.
|Photo Credit: Amazon.com Career Ideas for Kids Who Like Art|
You may have heard the self-help idea of visualizing your destination and working backwards to take action daily to reach that goal. Similarly, you can create a summer objective and co-opt your children to join the “cause”.
I’ve observed that children are surprisingly altruistic. Parents magazine confirms this also in the July issue.
Some kids will go out of their way to soothe a crying peer. Likewise, you can create a vision of summer as making a positive impact on your neighborhood.
How can learning to prevent summer brain drain benefit others? By applying what your children learn in volunteer projects that benefit your local community, church or nonprofit organization.
|Photo Credit: SmartyGirlHome Renee Marchol Bouncy Ball Prize|
Be the first reader to contact me with your summer project based on this article and receive a mega-sized bouncy ball valued at $5.
Of course, this will need to be something within your budget, fits your work schedule and is dear to your own heart. Will the vision to be to attract wildlife native to your neighborhood such as butterflies and birds to your backyard? Will it be to model how to use wisdom to make friends and care about your neighbor? Will your vision be to observe the science of plants growing in your local state parks?
A vision is different from a mission statement. I recommend that you ditch the rigid idea of a summer mission statement because it is likely to be stifling to kids. A mission statement, as defined by business school must include S.M.A.R.T. It is a written goal that is simple, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. I don’t think that fun learning can thrive in such rigid confines.
Instead, expect your child to engage with you and participate with ideas of his/her own. Encourage what ifs.
My husband is a children’s toy marketer and I am a former pro bono consultant for an educational children’s book publisher so our apartment often has juvenile library books and chidren’s educational toys for our research.
Here are 7 books that I enjoyed last month:
1. Mexican Folk Tales by Juliet Piggott. If your family has recently moved to Los Angeles, your child might be delighted to learn about non-European fairy tales. He or she is likely to hear the Spanish language spoken and might want to learn more about the heritage of his or her bilingual peers.
2. Career Ideas for Kids Who Like Art by Diane Lindsey Reeves. If your child is a fan of math and science, you can introduce him or her to more abstract thinking.
Your child will be more emotionally resilient as an adult if he or she can imagine. Professor John Boe, my children’s literature professor researched the healing effects of storytelling for traumatized children. He volunteered at a psychiatric children’s hospital for young victims of violent crime.
Art can restore wellness. Art can also encourage compassion and understanding in children who may be too literal.
3.The Cuddle Book by Guido Van Genechten. For crabs cuddling can be tricky but your cuddlebug will enjoy imagining how “kid” animals hug their parents.
|Photo Credit: Amazon.com How a Book is Made|
4. How a Book is Made by Aliki. Your child is likely to enjoy the drawings of cats as proofreaders.
5. Your Child at Play: Three to Five Years by Marilyn Segal, Ph.D. This is a nonfiction book meant for parents not as a read-aloud to children.
6. Mrs. Fields Best Ever Cookie Book. If your child has an aptitude for business, such as running a lemonade stand and closing sales he or she might be interested in this book for two reasons.
She can study why Mrs. Fields’ business suffered bankruptcy and how her recipes can be updated for the 2012 diet. For instance, what recipes can be revamped and made organic, vegan, diabetic and gluten-free.
|Photo Credit: Amazon.comToys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions|
7. Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions by Don Wulffson. Did you know that the bouncy ball helped name the Super Bowl? Fun facts and great stories of persistent inventors.
Imagine how you and your child can apply such learning to improve your community.
- What if you and your child were to adapt Mrs. Fields’s recipes for a vegan bake sale?
- What if you made finger puppets together so that your child could do a storytelling performance with her slumber party guests?
- What if your son were to learn one Mexican folktale that he and his friends could write into a play?
Such experiences create lasting learning.
Happy Summer with Your Kids!