It’s the middle of the summer and you and your kids are probably settled into your seasonal routine. Whether your kids are off to camp or home with you for the summer, the atmosphere is much different than during the school year. The screams of “do your homework!” and “go to bed now” have a taken a summer hiatus along with your favorite television shows.
Something else that may have also taken a vacation is the whole learning process. Sure kids are pushed to the limits during the school year and need a break, but going cold turkey can have some damaging effects once the school bell rings again in September. It’s a shame when kids lose some of the skills they took all school year to learn.
Trust me; keeping kids from jumping off the learning train during the summer is not easy. But, it can be done. Here are some ways to get your kids out of the summer learning slump.
Read. Read. Read.
It may sound like a “duh” statement, but keeping your kids reading over the summer is so important. Studies show kids who don’t read during their summer vacation see their reading skills take a nose dive. The great thing about choosing reading as a learning activity is that kids can incorporate pretty much anything they like into it. If your child likes cars, you can pick up a car book. If they’re into mysteries, you can pick up a book that fits their level. If your child is in a learning slump, try reading first. It’s an easy activity that will engage their brains and imaginations.
Find a Learning Buddy
If your child has a buddy he or she likes to hang out with, bring the buddy along for some fun learning. Many local libraries and book stores have activities to keep kids minds and hands busy over the summer. Having a friend in tow is more likely to keep your child interested.
Make Learning Fun for Little Ones
Learning starts at a young age. For the pre-school and Kindergarten set letters, numbers and sight words are the biggies. Why not create a learning game they can do around the house? For example, if there are three boxes of cereal in the cabinet, why not tag a number three on the boxes? You can create a scavenger hunt around the house tagging various items with letters and numbers. See how many they can find and identify. They’ll be learning and won’t even realize it! If you have more than one child you can turn this into a competition. If you want to get crazy you can even offer a small prize for the winner.
Some may call it bribery, but I prefer to call them incentives. If your child needs a little push, you may have to go this route. You can create a chart and keep track of how many books they read or how many little work books they complete. Set levels so that once they clear each one they get a little prize. We’re not talking Christmas in July, just little things like an ice cream treat or something like that. Seeing a reward at the end may keep them on the learning track longer. Our local library did something similar last summer for its reading program. Local attractions gave out free passes after a child read a certain number of books. By the end of the summer we had free zoo passes, discount aquarium passes, and a few free meals. It may be worth checking into what’s available around where you live.
Break it Down to 10 Minutes a Day
Nobody said your kid has to be doing school work for hours on end over the summer. I set aside ten minutes in the morning for summer school work with my girls. My soon-to-be Kindergartener practices her letters and numbers while my soon-to-be second grader brushes up on her math and reading comprehension skills. By knowing they just have to work for ten minutes a day they don’t get overwhelmed. We try to knock it out first thing in the morning before other activities start to distract them. Of course there are days we skip, but for the most part we keep on track and out of the summer learning slump.
The trick is not to let your kids get into the slump, but if they do there are ways to get them out. Remember stay positive and keep on learning!