Dr. Melillo is a clinician, professor, brain researcher and author of several bestsellers, including Reconnected Kids and Autism — The Scientific Truth About Preventing, Diagnosing and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders, and The Disconnected Kids Nutrition Plan. An expert in ADHD, Learning and Behavioral Issues, Processing Disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders, Dr. Melillo has been helping children overcome learning and developmental challenges for more than 25 years.
Confession time: I absolutely hate summer sometimes. I know—summer is supposed to be full of blue skies, popsicles, and sprinklers. But it can be a lot of pressure to keep the kids occupied when school is out. It's hard for me to set the kids up with activities that keep them learning and engaged. It can be particularly tough for parents of kids with behavioral, social, or learning difficulties.
So I partnered with Brain Balance [www.
First, here's the context I learned from Brain Balance about why my children sometimes act up. We all know about the left and right halves of our brain—but did you know that the root cause of most learning, behavioral, and social difficulties is an imbalance between them? Left hemisphere dominant children are very detail oriented and logical, while right hemisphere dominant kids tend to be more emotional. It's because of this imbalance that programs that combine sensory motor stimulation, academic stimulation, and nutrition can correct brain imbalance and ultimately
Now are some of those Brain Balance summer tips I told you about.
TIP 1: GET YOUR CHILD MOVING
Activities that involve active physical motion help children to read with greater comprehension and retain more information. Enjoy the spring sun by taking your child on an outdoor gallery walk, or take the fun indoors to an exploration-style, hands-on museum. Additionally, children should maintain a daily practice of prescribed left/right brain stimulating activities, including primitive reflex, core, and eye exercises.
TIP 2: COME UP WITH A DAILY SCHEDULE WITH YOUR CHILD
Routines keep children grounded—and they are especially necessary during breaks, when the regular school schedule goes out the window. Let your child have input into their schedule—it will give them agency and make them feel empowered.
TIP 3: SPEND TIME IN THE KITCHEN TOGETHER
Sugar-free, processed-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free foods bring tremendous benefit to your child's overall health and development. Spending time as a family cooking together also allows everyone to enjoy discovering healthy eating through a fun and engaging activity. It's also a great idea to let your child do simple activities like measuring ingredients, dividing up portions, and reading recipes. This reinforces their reading and math skills without making them feel intimidated. Plus, it helps you with dinner!
Let me tell you about what these tips did for my children...
I try to offer options to keep from wasting time. Usually it will range from 2 to three activities to choose from. Plus I try to allow her a reasonable amount of time with her tablet but on the grounds of cut off time on something that is stimulating for her with educational value. Rewarding afterwards if she does something without me asking her to. If there is discouraged behavior I try to talk to her on her level.
Turns out, my children love activities! I tried taking them to museums, on walks... activities I never thought they'd try. And while they were a little iffy about my ideas the first couple of times, they ended up really enjoying the new experiences! The more they tried, the more they were willing to do in the future.
They loved getting out of the house, but I was also surprised to learn that they really enjoyed helping me with in-house activities, like dinner. These activities don't "feel" like learning, but I noticed my children were practicing skills they'd normally hate (like reading and math) with pleasure. I tricked them into learning, and it felt great! While I loved that they were learning, I know that they loved getting to eat all their creations—so it's a win-win.
It feels so good to turn summer into another opportunity to keep my children engaged, and I'm excited to try more of Brain Balance's summer tips.
Not sure whether your child has a right- or left-brain weakness? Check out this simple online assessment to gain some preliminary insight into your child's functional strengths and weaknesses: https://www.
Brain Balance Achievement Centers are located all over the USA, and you can find one near you here: https://www.
Would you like to get more summer activities straight from the source? Check out Brain Balance [www.
How do you plan to make your child's summer productive? Share your thoughts in the comments below.