Why you shouldn’t stress out about the “summer slide”

By Rayma Griffin, MA, MEd on Aug 25, 2015

Summer is rushing to an end and the new school year is looming on the horizon. In my experience, this is when parents begin to panic about the academic skills their kids may have lost during the break.

And despite best intentions, you may not have gotten to all those learning activities you’d planned to do over the summer. But it’s OK.

What’s done is done.

Instead of stressing about lost skills, here’s my advice.

Kids who return to school relaxed, healthy, and well rested are the ones who are most ready to learn. So concentrate on what your child needs right now to be ready for a successful school year.

First, gently re-establish routines.

For example, this is a good time to return to a consistent bedtime for your child. The same goes for mealtimes. Start having breakfast and dinner on a school-friendly schedule at least a week before kids go back.

Second, talk to your child about the start of school.

Explain how getting back into routines makes returning to a school schedule easier. Get a copy of the new class schedule and walk your child through a typical school day. Check out the bus route. Purchase back-to-school supplies and plan the first day’s outfit together. Familiarity dispels anxiety!

Third, make healthy food choices and keep your child moving.

The end of summer doesn’t mean an end to outdoor playtime. It’s important for good nutrition and physical activity to be part of your child’s daily routine throughout the year.

And what about academics?

If you can sneak in some casual learning through fun games and excursions before school starts, that’s great! But this isn’t the time to cram in tons of academic activities. So put down the flashcards and stop the math drills.

Instead, make sure the supports and services that your child needs to be successful are in place.

If your child has an or a , make sure the teacher knows what’s required. Check whether services and will be available when school starts.

If your child struggles in a specific area, make sure the teacher is aware of your child’s needs. It’s a good idea to schedule a meeting with the teacher before the start of school. You may even want to write an “all about my kid” letter describing what your child does well and what is challenging.

Kids do lose some skills over the summer. That’s a fact. But kids who are healthy, rested, and relaxed will be more ready to learn once school starts.

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Transition from summer to school is hard for kids and for parents. Explore more back-to-school ideas for getting your child refreshed and ready to learn. And find out why one mom is trying not to worry about “COVID slide.”

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    About the author

    About the author

    Rayma Griffin, MA, MEd has spent 40 years working with children with learning and thinking differences in the classroom and as an administrator.