No matter the age of your student, summer learning loss is a very real issue. With a little too much fun and relaxation, summer has the potential to set back you child by one year or more. With a couple of simple behavior changes and by allotting time to learning, you can prevent summer learning loss with these tips and tricks.
Make Time for Reading
Set aside about 30 minutes a day for reading during each day of summer vacation. This includes days when you are out of town because reading isn’t a chore, it is a habit. The reading material can be anything, which is the fun of it! In a lot of cities, local libraries host competitions and other reading programs for children in the summer. Aside from boosting reading skills, setting aside time for reading is proven to build neural connections in the brain. Your child will not only improve his or her reading skills but boost the growth of his or her brain in the meantime.
Action Item: Read every day at the same time for 30 minutes. Take part yourself!
Talk Around The Dinner Table
Although it seems minor, discussion around the dinner table helps a child feel heard and understood. This can be an essential ‘safe place’ to have during the school year when life tends to be more difficult and complex. According to New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, dinnertime conversation boost vocabulary more than getting read to before bed. Young children learn an average 1,000 new words at the dinner table compared to 143 words from parents reading books aloud. In older children, it is a predictor of high achievement stores, more so than art, time spent in school, and even time spent doing homework!
Action Item: Set a goal to each dinner together at least 3 times a week. Hopefully, you can work your way up from there.
Play Strategy Board Games
Board games are fun and educational if you choose the right ones. There are strategy board games and card games for children of all ages to learn. You can make it fun by going to the store or looking online for a game to try as a family. A fun trick is to look at the suggested age on the box and buy a game for children older than your own. If the box says 10+ and your daughter is nine, she will be so proud to understand a game for older kids! According to Scholastic, board games teach social skills, ethics, academic skills, and strategy. They can also increase a child’s attention span.
Action Item: Look online or go to the store to make your first board game purchase as a family.
Incorporate Math into Daily Tasks
Adults use math all of the time in daily life so why not prepare your child for the most common uses of mathematics throughout a typical day? Have your student calculate the price decrease of an advertised discount, ask him to be the scorekeeper when playing board games, or even ask her to figure out how much their lunch will cost. It is all too easy to do the math yourself and walk away. Give your child a chance to try it.
Action Item: Challenge your young student to not use his or her phone’s calculator at all during the summer. Instead, work on mental math.
Embark on Learning Adventures
Visits to landmarks, historical places, and sights around town can expose your child to new learning experiences. Even a simple visit to the zoo can spark a chain of events! Let’s say you see tigers, your child learns about tiger refuges in the United States, starts reading up about rescuing tigers, studies where tigers live and what they eat, and you end the summer with a visit to a local tiger rescue.
Action Item: Let your children choose local activities or places to visit. Make a list at the beginning of the summer with some research and cross items off as the summer goes on.
Summer is a time where education may not be as structured but it should still be a time of learning. With a few simple changes to your everyday routine, it is easy for you to help your child learn and grow. Reading, math, and learning can all occur during your months off school.