The “summer slide” is a phenomenon that refers to the educational regression that children experience when they are away from school during their summer breaks. A lot of education is about structure and repetition. Despite parents’ best efforts, many children don’t have this during the summer months and end up losing some of the skills and knowledge that they had when the prior school year ended.
There is nothing wrong with kids being kids and enjoying their summer. In fact, as adults, some of our fondest childhood memories and adventures occurred during our summers. But as summer winds down and school is around the corner, many parents look for ways to put their kids in the best position to hit the ground running when school starts.
- Reading—Pay close attention to summer reading lists from your child’s school and your local library. Borrow books and talk about them with your kids. Rebuilding a culture of reading for your children will stimulate their brains and prepare them for homework.
- Workbooks and Apps—Buy writing and math workbooks and download educational apps for a tablet. These are easily lost skills if your child goes months without practice. Set aside a little time every morning and evening for them to rebuild these skills.
- STEM activities—Do some research and choose some STEM-friendly toys and activities for your children. Find science experiments that you can make using ingredients from your pantry. Also, never underestimate the power of LEGO.
- Reach Out to Teachers—While schools and teachers have different policies when it comes to teacher-parent communication, it never hurts to ask whether you can schedule meetings with your children’s teachers or counselor before the first week of school. You can use this opportunity to ask for suggestions about preparing your child to succeed before and after school begins.