The lazy days of summer are a great time for kids to relax and recharge, but they can also be a time when kids lose some of the valuable learning skills they gained during the school year. According to recent studies, kids can lose months of learning over the summer if they're not actively engaged in educational activities to maintain their skills. This can be a huge setback, especially for students who are already struggling academically. As a working parent, you may not have as much time to devote to your child's education during the summer as you'd like, but there are still things you can do to help prevent this regression of learning. In this blog post, we will discuss 5 ways that you can help keep your kiddo's learning skills sharp over the summer!
What is the Summer Slide?
The “summer slide” is a term used to describe the loss of academic skills and knowledge that occurs over the course of summer break. This phenomenon is especially prevalent in low-income communities, where kids often have limited access to educational resources during the summer months. Studies have shown that kids can lose up to two months of reading achievement over the summer, and that this loss is cumulative; meaning, it happens every year. This can have a significant impact on kids' long-term academic success as it can lead to a widening of the achievement gap between socioeconomically disadvantaged and advantaged students. Additionally, the summer slide can make it harder for kids to transition back to the school routine in the fall and can lead to less success in the classroom overall.
As much as parents may dread summer break, it’s important to remember that it’s a crucial time for kids’ development. Just because they’re out of school doesn’t mean that learning has to stop. In fact, summer is the perfect time to keep kids’ minds active and engaged. But how can you reduce the summer slide as a working mom, dad, or caregiver?
How to Combat the Summer Slide and Keep Those Skills Sharp!
So what can working parents do to help reduce the effects of the summer slide? Below are 5 tips to help keep your kids' learning skills intact over the summer!
1. Read Something Every Day
One of the best ways to prevent the summer slide is to make sure your child is reading every day. Studies have shown that reading for just 20 minutes a day can help combat the effects of the summer slide. Of course, the amount of time varies based on your child's age and skill level, but 20 minutes is a good block of time for them to be engaged in reading each day. If your child is too young to read independently, they can listen to you read a bedtime story or find e-books online that will read to them!
To encourage daily reading, you'll want to make sure that your child has access to plenty of books or other reading material. Mixing up the texts can help keep reading time exciting and less of a chore. Picture books, e-books, magazines, and chapter books are all great options based on reading level and age.
2. Visit the Library
The library is a great resource for kids of all ages. Not only does it provide access to books and other materials, but many libraries also offer summer reading programs. These programs are designed to help kids maintain their reading skills and often include incentives such as prizes or badges. Additionally, most libraries offer a variety of free events and activities for kids throughout the summer.
As a working parent, you can also take advantage of the library's summer programs, which often include things like story time, movie days, and crafts. Check out your local library's website or give them a call to find out what events and activities they have planned for the summer, and which ones work with your schedule. This is a great way to get your child out of the house, expose them to new and exciting ideas, and keep their minds busy over the summer.
3. Enroll in a Summer Camp or Academic Enrichment Program
Summer camp is a fantastic way to keep youngsters occupied and active during the summer. There are all sorts of camps available, from sports camps to arts and crafts camps, and most importantly, academic enrichment programs. These are great if your child needs to brush up on their skills over the summer. There's sure to be a camp that's perfect for your child and will help them maintain or develop valuable learning skills and knowledge. And, as a working parent, you can take advantage of the fact that many camps offer before and after care. This will give you peace of mind knowing that your child is being cared for (and learning!) while you're at work.
4. Encourage Journaling
Keeping a journal is a great way for kids to document their summer adventures and practice their writing skills. If your child is in camp or daycare during the day, encourage them to journal when they get home! Writing even a few lines in their journal about how their day went can help to keep those writing skills sharp. If your child is still learning to write, encourage them draw pictures of how their day went, how they're feeling, or anything else they'd like to write about, then add words or "sentences" to describe the photo. Spending just a small bit of time writing throughout the week can help keep those writing skills on point and ready for the new school year.
5. Take Advantage of Free Online Resources
There are tons of free online resources that can help your child learn and grow during the summer. Websites like Khan Academy and PBS Kids offer educational games and activities that are perfect for summer learning. This is a great way to get some math and science practice in as well. Have your child spend 15 minutes on a learning website while you're cooking dinner or download an educational app they can play on the way to the sitter's! You can also often find a wealth of resources on the websites of museums or zoos in your city.
The summer slide is a real phenomenon, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster for your kids if you're a working parent. Creating a schedule can help you stay on track. This doesn't have to be anything formal. Simply set aside some time each day for your child to do some sort of educational activity. This could be reading for 20 minutes, spending 15 minutes on their favorite learning app, completing 2 pages from an activity book, or working on an educational puzzle. If you make learning a part of your child's daily routine, you can keep their skills sharp and ready for the next year. Having a schedule will also help kids transition back to a more structured routine when school starts again in the fall.
With a little bit of planning and effort, you can help your child stay on track academically while still enjoying their summer break. And who knows, they might even have a little fun in the process!
Need Some Learning Tools?
Looking for some screen-free resources to keep your child's mind active and engaged over the summer? Make sure to check out our shop - we make educational toys featuring brown girls and boys! Each of our unique learning products includes a Learning Guide that provides background information on the skills the product was designed to develop, as well as questions or prompts you can ask your child while using the product to help extend their learning.
We also have some free worksheets and activities that you're more than welcome to download and use with your child at home!