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By GreatSchools Staff
"I work full time, therefore summer camps are of vital importance to me, especially with my 7 year old, but for my middle schooler, who will be entering eighth grade this fall, I let him choose activities that we both will be happy with. He entered a program through his school which is three days a week, that gives him two days to sleep in or plan activities with his friends. He also joined a summer soccer team and will go to a Bible summer camp for one week. Last year he was too old for the summer camp program and too young to choose his own activities so I enrolled him in the seventh grade summer school program. He had just finished sixth and this helped him to be on top of things for seventh grade in the fall. The cost was $50.00 and that was four days a week plus he took swimming lessons. I feel that middle schoolers starting at seventh grade need to have choices, but ones that are agreeable to all. There is too much mischief children can get into. They need structured time as well as free time. The amount I say would depend on the child and how mature and responsible they are."
"All the free time that summer brings inspires children to inventory their games and toys to see what fun stuff is at their disposal. It isn't often that they are satisfied with their findings and games are expensive! You know the kind I mean: video games.
"A child's feelings of deprivation combined with all that free time can create an opportunity to build important life skills, while putting to use the 3 Rs that can fade a bit over a summer.
"Have your child pick the top three to five items on their wish list. Ask him to estimate the cost of each item and to write that estimate on the paper. The next step is to prioritize the list. Suggest some things for your child to consider, such as the potential hours of enjoyment and degrees of glee expected. Try not to sway your child in prioritizing regardless of what you think of his choices. Now tell your child to find out the actual prices of the items on his list. He can check store ads, go to the stores, look on the Internet or even call the stores for a price check. Talk to your child about good ways for him to earn money over the summer, such as neighborhood yard work, car washing, babysitting, pet sitting or dog walking. Or make, package and sell something special (perhaps a favorite cookie recipe or a custom lemonade mix that has a creative twist like a dash of clove, powdered tang or iced tea powder). My personal favorite, for many, many reasons, is to have a couple of yard sales. Have your child choose a name for his business.
"I like to give kids the opportunity to rethink their choices once they realize the actual prices and that they'll be the ones paying for it with their well-earned dollars. My son is 13 and quite the business man."
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