The “Summer Slide” and Proactive Parenting

In Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

The summer with your children can feature a combination of fun events interspersed between long bouts of monotony. Even if you have a daily routine and activities, or if the children are in summer camps, there are still hours of the day when they sit around watching television, playing videogames, or disappearing into their Instagram and social media personas.

Simply put, during the summer, children’s minds miss out on the seven hours of school and the level of social interaction they have during the school year. The academic deterioration of what they learned throughout the year is sometimes referred to as the “summer slide”. In fact, research has shown that children’s math and reading skills are particularly hard hit during the summer months.

Limiting the Summer Slide

As parents, we want our children to be positioned for academic success and prepared for the next school year. Therefore, there are several steps you can take to help mitigate this slide.

  • Stay involved and read to your children. In reading to your children, you engage their minds and their imaginations. In addition, you are spending time with them and bonding with them in the process.
  • Check your school’s website to see if there is a summer reading program or a summer reading list for the upcoming school year. These lists are often curated with reading-level appropriate materials.
  • Make the library a consistent part of your weekly routine. Most libraries have some sort of summer reading program that provides a free book or other reward for reading a certain number of books. Sign your children up for these programs. In addition, get to know your local librarian and ask for reading-level appropriate options for your children.
  • Limit device time and provide incentives for your children to read. Discuss goals and what books or series of books they are interested in reading. These may be books you could be interested in reading as well.
  • Look at your children’s math curriculum from the last school year. Do some homework of your own and find educational apps or games that can help keep those basic skills sharp.

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