Summer Tip: When in Doubt, Read.
What has a stiff spine, pale complexion, and is full of stories? It could be Uncle Joe, but I'm talking about books.
I count myself lucky because my one and only daughter is a reader. Not only does that mean that she leaves me alone long enough to binge watch beer brewing techniques online, but it's a joy to witness all that she gets from reading (and re-reading) books. She pictures the characters, predicts what they might and might not do, and is able to empathize with them— a true gift for building self-awareness, social-awareness, and every other aspect of social emotional development. Reading rules. Summer blockbusters aside, how many times have you lamented that the movie was pale in comparison to the book? It's because your imagination is richer than what Hollywood can put together even on a multi-million dollar budget.
A Note to Former Kids— i.e. Parents
For those those parents who worry that the elite dream school will never happen if Billy keeps reading "that junk," please (and I ask this politely) leave him alone. If your child is reading and likes reading, that is a gift that will keep on giving, and it's not a sign of regression if your kid decides to pick up something that you used to read to him when he was still in diapers. Sometimes its a joy to reread a book that was once a challenge or to check in on a beloved character— who would want a literary soulmate to get lonely? And for the record, a comic book is a rich source of literature. Full nerd confession, much of my advanced vocabulary as a child came from reading comic books and role-playing games. Charisma, dexterity, and constitution were all concepts within my grasp long before I ever knew there'd be something called high school.
Don't Buy Books Online
Okay, this one is risky because I'm currently working on a book, so hopefully this won't come back to haunt me. Yes, sometimes it's convenient to shop online but going to the library or your local book store is a special treat not to be underestimated. I have it on authority that librarians and book sellers in the children's section are wizards. They've read everything in their division and can recommend books for the eleven-year-old reader, who likes fantasy and adventure, doesn't like violence, but is okay if it's a little bit scary from time to time. They are there to help, so just ask.
Whatever your summer plans, a book travels well and is a sure cure for boredom. More importantly, people will marvel at your parenting when your child is ignoring you in the restaurant because she is reading a book rather than playing on an electronic device. It happened for me, and I hope it can happen for you. Happy reading.