Three Ways to Avoid the Summer Slide: How to keep your child motivated and eager to learn

We are officially in the middle of summer!  The days are longer, hotter, and more humid than ever.  It can be challenging to tackle summer academic work when it is so tempting to relax and play outdoors.  But it is important to remember that children should remain motivated to learn.  Summer academic work is often recommended in order to bridge the summer gap and avoid the so-called “summer slide.” For most children however, trying to get them to do their academic work is not as easy as it sounds. Here are three ways to motivate and inspire your child:

Stick to a schedule. Obviously, summer schedules will look quite different from their regular routine, but establishing a schedule with clear expectations, goals, and screen limitations is a good idea.  Be flexible and depending on the age of your child, empower them to take part in the planning process.  This gives them a sense of autonomy and independence.  Assess what kind of academic work your child is interested in or might benefit from practicing and what academic work you, as a parent, think would be beneficial.  Print out all summer reading lists and make a list of educational websites children can access.  It is important to be realistic and create a schedule that caters to your child’s learning needs.  Designate a “summer academic work calendar.”  Encourage your child to mark the dates they plan to get any assigned summer reading done.  Be creative:  Add stickers, make the calendar colorful, and let them decorate it.  Having a “summer academic calendar” is a great visual tool that can help keep your child motivated and keep track of their responsibilities.  

Establish a Daily Routine. The slow summer days can all blend together if there is no routine to follow.  Research has shown that children thrive when there are clear expectations and routines.  With long days, staying up late is practically inevitable which means children might not be getting enough sleep.  Establishing a daily routine and sticking to it is important.  This includes setting a time for waking up, eating meals, snacks, nap times, taking a bath, and establishing a bedtime routine.  Daily routines provide opportunities for children to feel grounded and offer children a sense of stability. Flexibility is also important as it allows us to extend a certain activity if your child is really engaged and is participating in something that really interests them.  

Make time for FUN and CONNECTION! Summer is a time for fun and connecting with our family and friends.  Children should have time to enjoy their summer, play inside and outside, do some crafts, or learn how to cook a new recipe together as a family.  Plan a family movie night or game night.  If you are stuck on what to do next, make a “What to Do Next Bowl?”  Have everyone in the family write what they like to do on pieces of paper.  This can include bike rides, baking, playing a board game, going swimming, writing a letter to a friend, etc.  Then fold up the pieces of paper and put them in a bowl. When the inevitable “I am bored” comes up, just have them reach into the bowl and pick out a paper with a suggestion.  The summer days will soon pass, so enjoy the moment and enjoy each other!

 

For more information on the summer slide and establishing a daily routine, please visit: 

https://www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/raise-a-reader-blog/summer-slide.html

https://www.pbs.org/wholechild/providers/little.html