Our Opinion: Keep them busy

Monday, April 24, 2006

School will soon end at area schools. Children will have almost three months off from the routine of school.

For many children, this becomes a time of idleness or mischief, rather than a time of continued growth toward a mature and productive adult. That does not need to be the case.

Parents of young children need to get their kids involved with summer activities at an early age, activities that will keep the youngsters interested and involved throughout their school years.

Organized baseball and swimming programs are just two examples of summer activities that help children develop physically and socially, while having fun, (although, unfortunately there won't be swimming activities at the Cherokee pool this year because of the Aquatic Center project).

Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4-H are all wonderful organizations that develop skills and pride.

Libraries throughout the county have summer reading programs, with the level of participation determined by each child.

Tests by schools of early elementary students in the spring and fall consistently show that student word and number skills deteriorate substantially during the summer months.

Summer library reading programs can help prevent word skill loss, but parents need not rely totally on libraries. Children who are read to become enthusiastic about reading. Parents of beginning readers can also have their children read to them.

Children can be asked to do arithmetic problems appropriate to their level of development. Even a few such problems three or four times a week would help the child maintain his or her present level of arithmetic skill.

Participating in recreational activities as a family is an excellent way to develop communications between parent and child.

After a certain age, a child complaining about nothing to do generates little sympathy. The complaint is dismissed as the whining of a child without enough gumption to find worthwhile activities.

However, such a situation generally results from parents not getting the child involved in activities at a younger age.