Circle of Moms member Judy L. asks, "How do you get your kid to keep reading during summer?"
With summer vacation in full swing, she's far from the only parent worrying about a teen not keeping up his academic game for next year's school year. Here are five fantastic tips to help sharpen your teen's mind and up his or her game over the dog days of summer break.
1. Eat Foods Containing DHA
Make sure that you eat foods containing DHA; it’s a kind of healthy fat that is essential for brain development. DHA can be found in fatty fish—specifically, in the oil. Alternatively, you can take supplements. Over the summer, grilling fish outside can be a fun way for the family to eat right!
2. Encourage Creative Thinking
Do whatever you can do to make learning fun, be it studying in groups or making some kind of game out of the information you need to know. One of the best ways to learn is by being engaged in the material you’re trying to learn. Find video games and activities for your teen that encourage creative thinking and problem solving.
3. Join a Summer Learning Club
Two heads are better than one. In the summertime, look for classes or clubs that will keep your teen thinking—and hanging out with other kids who are thinking. During the school year, encourage your teen to study with friends so that he can exercise teaching skills that will help solidify knowledge. But if your teen's friends are too distracting, he should either find “study friends” or go back to solo work.
4. Talk About Successes And Failures
Ask your teen to think of a time he didn’t perform well on a test. Did he do anything to sabotage his efforts? What can he do better? Use the summer to talk about successes and failures over the school year. What really worked, and what didn't?
5. Play a Brain Sharpening Game
Have your teen get in groups of two and play this downloadable word game. Cover the right-hand column. Say the three words together, and see if you can come up with another word that’s a common denominator between all of them. Time yourself to see how long it takes to come up with the answer. For example, if three words are cottage, Swiss, and cake, the common link is the word cheese. The faster you can find the link, the better. Use the middle columns below to see how you stack up against others. (For instance, in the first example, 52 percent of folks could find the connection within two seconds, while 96 percent could do it in fifteen seconds.)
A New York Times #1 best-selling author and host of The Dr. Oz Show, Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. is also professor and vice chairman of surgery at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University and the director of the Heart Institute. For more from Dr. Oz, check out You: The Owner's Manual for Teens, co-authored with Michael F. Roizen, M.D.
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