How to prevent the summer slide in children

By Dr Marina Hakimian, Thrive Wellbeing Centre

Summer has officially arrived! A time of joy for kids, but it can be a challenge for parents. As children take a break from school, parents face the dilemma of keeping them engaged and entertained while also allowing them to unwind and relax.

But what about the Summer Slide? Is it a genuine concern? There are two contrasting perspectives to explore. One suggests that what is learned remains stored for future retrieval, creating a solid foundation for continued growth. On the other hand, some argue that without regular rehearsal and practice, knowledge may fade away, leading to a potential setback when the new school year begins. As parents, it’s natural to feel a sense of responsibility to ensure our children’s educational progress is nurtured throughout the summer months.

So, how can we strike the perfect balance between fun and learning during this break?

Read, read and read! Encouraging a love for reading starts at home. Embrace the power of literature by making reading a regular part of your family’s routine. Foster your child’s curiosity by selecting books that align with their interests and are appropriate for their reading level. Providing materials that are neither too challenging nor too easy ensures an engaging and confidence-boosting reading experience. If your child prefers reading on a device, consider introducing them to a simplified version of an e-reader, such as a child-friendly Kindle. Rest assured that such devices can enhance their reading journey without any negative impact.

Turn errands into adventures. Involve your children in running errands with you and transform routine tasks into valuable learning experiences. Hand them the shopping list and empower them to assist you in locating items. Grocery shopping provides an excellent opportunity to exercise cognitive skills. Encourage them to compare and contrast products, examine the country of origin, check quantity and nutrition details, and inspire their curiosity to ask questions. This engaging activity not only enhances their maths abilities but also enriches their vocabulary and language skills. Make every outing a chance for education and exploration!

Create meaningful memories. Connect with your children by involving them in decision-making. Ask them about their desires for the summer and inquire about their preferences. Do they crave some alone time or desire exciting travel adventures? Engaging them in conversations with your partner makes them feel valued and important.

Game on! Unleash the laughter and excitement by playing classic games such as Trivial Pursuit, Snakes and Ladders, or Uno. These games not only offer endless fun but also teach valuable life skills like turn-taking, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Strengthen your family bond as you embark on these enjoyable and enriching experiences together.

Nurture meaningful conversations. Engage in mindful and attentive conversations with your child to enhance their vocabulary skills. Recognise their need for relaxation and create opportunities for dialogue when they are receptive. Respect their boundaries and readiness to communicate, ensuring that conversations are enjoyable and engaging. By fostering a supportive environment, you can effectively cultivate their language development while respecting their individual preferences and comfort levels.

By seamlessly blending learning and fun, we can reinvent these everyday activities, such as engaging educational activities, reading challenges, and interactive experiences. In doing so, we can help children embrace academic success upon their return to school, all while cherishing moments of pure enjoyment and fun.

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