Intellectual Involvement for Middle School Summers
The middle school years are a time for children to balance increased independence with family structure. Tweens and teens are in a developmental stage where they are finding their way through intellectual involvement, but still need the support of rules and guidance from older family members. Children in this age group can feel empowered by making more of their own choices, especially when those choices build skills or help others. Parents can help by providing a framework that has the desired amount of structure, but still allows kids to develop independence incrementally. Ideally, summer can be a mix of family time and activities with peers. Here are some suggestions to explore with your middle school child:
- Incorporate friends into summer activities. If your family takes a summer vacation, consider allowing your child to invite a close friend to come along for company. Or coordinate with the families of your child’s friends to select summer camps where your child will have friends to share the experience.
- Explore hobbies and interests. Summer is a fantastic time for students to delve deeper into activities such as sports, hobbies, or other passions.
- Give back. Children who volunteer in an area of interest learn responsibility and independence while developing an increased awareness of the needs of others. Research options for community service with local libraries, religious institutions, and other nonprofit organizations.
- Maintain academic focus. Taking a summer course can help children stay focused on academics during the summer months. Consider a Laurel Springs elective or World Language summer course, which can be completed according to the student’s schedule, even accommodating travel and vacation plans.
As children progress through the middle school years, the summer months are a time for families to plan a varied schedule of relaxation, family time, activities with peers, and some coursework to maintain intellectual involvement. The key is to find a balance that allows children to have time with friends as well as memorable family experiences.
Contributor: Sharon John, Laurel Springs School Counselor