Betsy Eggart, a Pensacola, Fla., mom and teacher, believes kids should take a break from worksheets and equations over the summer and instead focus on resting and recharging for next year.
Many teachers send students home for summer vacation with worksheets and equations to tackle, But Eggart thinks outside of the box with her approach to keep kids sharp over the long break. Call it “the non-summer packet, summer packet.”
The R.C. Lipscomb Elementary School first-grade teacher posted her concept to Facebook where it quickly went viral. Eggart, 36, encourages parents to get back to some of the basics of life with their kids like tying shoes, behaving at the dinner table and putting away the iPhones and iPads to spend quality, uninterrupted time together. The teacher of 13 years also reminds parents of the importance of slowing down and letting kids rest and relax so they’re not burned out by the next school year.
The mother of two, an 8-year-old and a 1-year-old, says “I feel like when we just keep going and going and going, we hit a wall, and I think as adults we know that. We know for ourselves when we’ve been through a really busy season at work we hit a wall, and our kids do, too.”
Eggart offers some pointed advice within the post that she thinks could help children develop both in school and everyday life.
1. Teach Your Child How To Tie Their Shoes. Eggart encouraged parents to: Find a fun trick! Watch a video! Give an incentive! Be persistent! “Just make sure your child isn’t the one dragging their laces through the bathroom and cafeteria then asking the teacher to tie it” she wrote.
2. Establish A Regular Bedtime. “If we keep our bodies in a routine with sleep, August won’t hit quite so hard,” Eggart wrote. That’s good advice for both parents and kids!
3. Find A Pen Pal. Whether to a close friend or distant family member, “Writing with a purpose makes it relevant and real for your child,” Eggart said.
4. Have Dinner Together. Better yet, try to have dinner together every night.
5. Practice Being Kind. This is perhaps the easiest and most important assignment on Eggart’s list.
6. Let Your Child Make Mistakes. “Our children need us. But they need us to let them learn to problem solve,” she wrote, “if your child is in a situation that is frustrating, but not harmful (example: can’t put together a new toy, can’t open a Lunchable, can’t decide which color shirt to wear) let them work it out! It saves time and our nerves to just do it! But in the long run, it’s crippling our children of the basic and necessary skill to problem solve and think through an issue … for themselves. Hang back … just a bit. They’ll be OK!”
7. Read To Your Child. “I can’t encourage reading enough!” Eggart said. “Please visit the library and make books a part of your summer days. Most importantly, let your child see you read- to yourself and to them.”
8. Put Down Your Phone. “We could spend this summer scrolling through strangers’ vacation pictures wishing we had their reality,” Eggart wrote, “or we could be chasing our reality through the sprinkler in our own backyard.” It’s your call.
9. Take A Moment To Relax Every Once In A While. “Be OK with not constantly going somewhere,” Eggart challenged families, adding: “Boredom gives way to creativity. Rest renews our bodies and our minds for all the next school year has in store.”