Learn how you can avoid what child educators refer to as “the summer slide”

Let’s face it: summer may be a great break for the kids, but it also exposes them to what child educators refer to as “the summer slide,” whereby the holidays represent nothing less than a break in learning and a loss of reading and other skills.

How severe is the problem? Oxford Learning estimates that over the summer, two months of reading skills are lost, as are 2.6 months of math skills, with the losses being recognized as early as Grade 1.

Oxford also estimates that by the end of Grade 6, students who have suffered summer learning loss are an average of two years behind their peers, and that it can take six weeks in the fall for kids to re-learn old material.

Fortunately, keeping kids’ minds as well as their bodies stimulated over the holidays is relatively simple, and experts agree that the first step is for parents to set a reading schedule—whether it is daily for 10 to 30 minutes, or just several times a week. Otherwise, they say, it will be difficult to achieve the momentum necessary for young brains to absorb information.

The Canadian Paediatric Society strongly believes mental and physical exercise is a must during summer, and it encourages children to read and parents to organize outings to libraries, museums and other venues. Oxford suggests teaching kids through your own tasks, such as baking a cake or fixing a bicycle.

To further promote proper cognitive development, the society advises parents to minimize and manage their kids’ Internet screen time, prioritizing educational, age-appropriate and interactive programming.