How to Prevent Summer “Brain Drain” in Your Child

By Maryam A
Edited by Alireza

The school year is almost over which means summer vacation is near. For kids, this is a time of great excitement because it means freedom from the classroom and time to do other activities that they enjoy. For parents, it means getting children into a new routine and making sure they are still keeping their minds and bodies active.

One of the downfalls of summer vacation is “brain drain,” or where students lose previously learned information. Going for weeks without exercising these skills can mean regression. Teachers often spend the first few weeks of the new school year reviewing and re-teaching old skills. However, there are many ways in which you can help your child not only retain what they have learned throughout the school year but also continue expanding their skills over the summer.

  • Read: Keep plenty of books on hand so your child always has something to look at. Visit the library each week to let them pick out new books that catch their interest. Even though it is summer and they don’t have reading logs or required nightly reading, continue your routine of reading together each night. This is a great time to discuss what they are reading and prompt creative and critical thinking.
  • Attend community events: There are often many kid-friendly events during the summer where you child can learn new things and stretch their mind. Check out the local library to see what events they are hosting and keep your eye out for programs through museums, nature centers, non-profits, and other organizations. Your child can have fun while engaging in hands-on activities and watching interesting presentations.
  • Visit historical locations: While you are on vacation, or even just around town, make it a point to stop in to historical landmarks, museums, and cultural centers. Take in the sights and talk about the people, places, and events that are featured. This can stimulate your child to want to learn more and read up on different topics.
  • Use online resources: Allot a certain amount of time each day where your child can use the computer for learning activities. There are tons of educational websites available and you could even ask their teacher for recommendations. Your kids may have favorite sites they used at school that they can continue playing on at home. Bookmark different sites so that they have a variety of options that encompass math, language arts, spelling, science, history, and other subjects. Games can be fun and educational.
  • Make crafts or projects: Put their math, writing, and thinking skills to use on various projects. These can be fun artsy activities, or even projects around the home. If you are remodeling or redecorating, let them help with measurements and writing down materials.
  • Cook together: Preparing meals can use many different skills. Your child can help write the list of ingredients to shop for, measure out the correct amounts, time cooking, and divide the meal into portions. Bake cookies together and let them use their imagination for decorating.
  • Set up a car wash or lemonade stand: Encourage entrepreneurialism early. Holding a car wash or setting up a lemonade stand can be a great way to teach math and business skills. Your child can decorate signs, help decide what they need, figure out how much supplies cost, and accept payment and make change for customers. It can be a fun way for them to help others, earn money, and use their thinking skills.

Summer does not have to be a time where your child loses valuable skills. Keep them active and engaged in a variety of activities. Incorporate many things they enjoy doing and they won’t even realize that they are learning. Be creative and let your child be your guide; base activities off of their interests and areas where you know they may need a little more practice. It’s summer, so enjoy the extra time together and opportunities to get involved in a wide range of activities.

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