Win the Fight Against the Summer Slide
The end of the school year is fast approaching, and if you’re like most parents, you’re already making plans to keep your children gainfully occupied. We get it—the stakes are high. Bored kids and free time aren’t always the most productive combination.
While your littles, middles and teens need downtime, summer vacation can be a tricky time for parents. On one hand, you truly want them to have fun. On the other, you want to maintain the structure of the school year (and preserve your sanity!). Most of all, you want to do all you can to prevent summer learning loss. Research shows that while younger students are more at risk, kids of all ages can be susceptible to losing ground in basic math and reading.
Experts say the key to keeping your students on track is taking a balanced, holistic approach that ensures they are getting fresh air, learning new things and using their imaginations. And because you’re busy, we did the research for you! Here are five proven ways to maximize your child’s summer learning:
- Keep a Routine. It’s OK to kick back and relax, but don’t throw out all the rules. Consistency is vital, especially when it comes to bedtime and screen time vs. quiet reading time. A strong summer routine will only make it easier to return to the classroom in the fall.
- Play Hard. Rain or shine, make time for running, jumping, laughing and more! Aim for 60 minutes of physical activity each day and head outdoors as much as possible. For tweens and teens, consider trying something new like disc golf, swimming or kayaking. For your littles, keep a list of silly, fun games that encourage movement.
- Reimagine Reading. This summer, add podcasts and audiobooks to your kids’ summer reading rotation. Listening builds language skills, and there’s no prolonged screen time! From mythology and historical biographies (“Greeking Out” and “Who, When, Wow!”) to songwriting, science and pop culture (“Song Exploder,” “Science Friday” and “Let’s Be Real with Sammy Jaye”).
- Do Math Every Day. In addition to tackling traditional math problems, help your child find the math that ‘lives” in fun activities, such as baking a batch of brownies, building a birdhouse or grocery shopping on a budget.
- Learn by Doing. Teach your child big-picture concepts like community responsibility and self-reliance with hands-on activities. They could help a family member with yard work, walk a neighbor’s dog or grow a small garden and share the bounty.
The “summer slide” is the annual decline that can result in some school-age children losing up to 40 percent of the educational gains they made in the previous school year.
Summer learning goes a long way toward producing well-rounded, college-bound students. And another way to prepare your young person is to go ahead and start saving for their higher education. Visit myfloridaprepaid.com to learn how you can get started today.