Updated: Jan 12
As the school year comes to close, most kids look forward to the break from academics and early morning wakeups. Kids do need time to decompress and to just be kids, but 2-3 months with limited opportunities to learn can sometimes affect academic success.
Did you know:
Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains
Children lose more than academic knowledge over the summer. Most children—particularly children at high risk of obesity—gain weight more rapidly when they are out of school during summer break
What is Summer Slide?
Summer Slide or Brain Drain is when skills learned throughout the school year are forgotten during the summer months. When students return to school in the Fall, they struggle to regain the skills they need to succeed in the new year.
Parents can help prevent Brain Drain. Here are simple ways you can ensure your child has opportunities to learn and grow, while also having fun during summer break:
1. TALK TO YOUR CHILD'S TEACHER NOW
The school year is quickly coming to a close. This is the perfect time to talk to your child's teacher about your child's strengths and weaknesses. Ask teachers what your child needs to practice over the summer. Find out if there are any programs your child's teacher would suggest your child participate in. The teacher may be able to suggest materials (books) that your child could benefit from as well.
2. CONSIDER A CAMP
Camps are an excellent way to expose your child to academic, physical, and social activities. Summer camps begin enrolling as early as April. You can find available camps in local magazines, newspapers, or even at your child's school. Camps offer music, cooking, sports, technology, and more. Pick the camp that works best for your budget, your child's interests, and your time.
3. FIND JOB-SHADOWING OPPORTUNITIES
Job shadowing exposes children to different occupations which helps children decide what work they want to do in the future. Talk to a co-worker, friend, or family member about having your child shadow them at work. Many local businesses also allow students to shadow. Find opportunities in your child's current chosen occupation as well as other occupations. Now is the time for your child to explore.
4. RESEARCH ART AND CULTURE PROGRAMS
As school priorities shift, many arts and music programs have been cut. Summertime is the perfect time to expose children to the arts. Many museums and art galleries offer discounts throughout the summer. Exposure to arts and culture helps build kids' imaginations and creativity.
5. WORK ON LIFE SKILLS
As much as we hate to think about it, one day our babies are going to go out into the "real world". To make this event a little less scary for kids (and parents) we have to teach them how to take care of themselves. Jot down a few age-appropriate life skills you'd like your child to master over the summer.
6. GET A LIBRARY CARD
Read, read, read and it doesn't have to cost you a dime. Libraries are one of the most inexpensive outings your family can take. Many libraries offer free summer reading programs that come with fun incentives for reading. Libraries also offer book clubs, teen clubs, and even free camps.
7. CHOOSE A COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECT
Teach your child the importance of giving back. When kids participate in community service, they learn new skills, responsibility, and confidence in their abilities to help others. Choose age appropriate projects such as collecting canned goods, building a home, or cleaning up a local neighborhood.
8. MAKE IT FUN
Find balance in each if the activities you choose.
Be careful not to over schedule your summer.
Choose activities that your child will enjoy.
With a little research and a lot of preparation, you can stop the summer slide, by offering fun and engaging opportunities for learning.