Avoiding the dreaded Summer Slide

June 4, 2019

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

School is almost out for the summer for most of us!

Now what?! Need some tips and encouragement on how to avoid the summer brain drain?

See what our team of clinicians have to say below.

Dominique Adkins, Ed.d., LPC, NCC, ACS:
Many teens look forward to the summer after a busy and often stressful end of the school year. Here are three insights to help customize their summer experience while keeping them physically and mentally active.

  • As tempting as it might be, it is important to avoid staying awake all night and sleeping the day away. Create and maintain a sleep routine that allows for sleeping in and a structured day.
  • Secondly, it can be hard to coordinate spending time with friends because of travel plans or conflicting schedules. Plan ahead and find the time to reconnect throughout summer.
  • Finally, explore job or volunteer opportunities for the summer. It keeps teens active, puts money in their pocket, and looks good on their resume!

Remember this time away from the pressures of school is valuable. Take time as a family to enjoy the moment and receive it fully!

Amanda Beyland, LCSW: 
Summer is right around the corner and there’s a lot of talk of camps, vacations, and fun in the sun. With so many exciting things to plan for there aren’t many conversations happening about how to avoid the summer slide.

Summer slide, also known as summer learning loss, happens when children experience a loss of academic skills over the summer. We know that most kids won’t willingly sit down to complete a workbook or study their flashcards so the real question is – how do we keep our kids wanting to learn? Make it fun! 

Here are some fun suggestions:

  • Encourage your child to practice writing skills by putting on a play with their friends.
  • Use road trips as a time to learn by studying maps, estimating how long the trip may take, and playing the license plate game.
  • Work together on a building project – try constructing a robot or build a fort. Encourage your kids to get outdoors, explore, and be active.

With these fun activities the kids won’t even notice that you’re sneaking in a little learning into their playtime!

Kasey Cain, Resident in Counseling:
Usually when I think of a slide I think fun is about to take place. Unfortunately, thinking about the summer slide isn’t immediately fun. However, it can be. The “summer slide” refers to the loss of reading or other academic skill development during the months when children are not in school. As with all learning, mastery of a skill or concept takes continued reinforcement and practice. It is important to remember, though, that teaching, reinforcement, and practice don’t just happen in a classroom setting.

There are opportunities for learning everywhere! For example, it is always a great idea to set aside 20 minutes a day for reading (reading to or with a kid counts) but reading can be incorporated in other ways too. Do you like to cook? Have your kids cook with you and help read the recipe. There are math skills involved in that one too as well as organization, following directions, and patience.

Are you going on a family vacation? Have your child(ren) research things to do or nearby places to eat to help plan the itinerary. This helps practice reading, planning, organization, and time-management. Also, use the summer months as a time to move. Go for a walk, swim at the pool, catch (and release) fireflies. All movement activates brain development!

So don’t fear the summer slide. Enjoy the summer and make the most of these moments.

It can certainly be a challenge to keep kids both physically and mentally active during the summer days and they may need some encouragement. Remember that parents play a key role in filling gaps over the summer. Here’s another helpful blog post about the summer slide. Let us know how these strategies and suggestions have helped you and your family.

Until next week, Be Wise!