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Stop Summer Learning Loss in its Tracks

Amber Brandt  |  June 14, 2016

Everyone knows kids need a healthy balance of learning and play, but maybe never as much as during the summer months. As temperatures rise, so does the risk of learning regression. Without an intentional focus on keeping your child’s brain engaged during their summer vacation, the natural “break” from being appropriately challenged and stimulated may take its natural toll.

But just how real is the struggle? Research shows the equivalent of one month of overall learning is lost after summer vacation. Yikes. Thankfully, there are some very simple ways you can battle summer learning regression in your home, keeping your child’s mind sharp without losing yours! According to, the most powerful tool is catering activities to your little learner — let your child’s interests guide their summer learning. What do they enjoy? Reading? Playing outside? Getting tech-y? 

Here are some effective ways you can make learning make sense:

  1. Book it. Be intentional about incorporating reading time each day — whether that means cracking open a story together before you get busy with play, packing a book in your beach bag, or moving their quiet time to the hammock — and saddling up with a good read.
  2. Make learning active. If your child is always on the go, harness that energy into a summer team sport, enroll them in swimming lessons, or turn an afternoon stroll into an impromptu scavenger hunt.
  3. Keep screen time in check. Rainy days make outside play more challenging — and vegging inside much more appealing. Consider downloading an educational app you can both feel good about, or using the iPad together to research new ideas for backyard play. If turning the iPad off tends to be a battle, set a timer within view and make the expectation clear before they even begin.
  4. Keep time on your side. While not being locked into a routine can be a relief, it can quickly turn into a bad habit. (We’ve all been there!) Be sure to insert some structured activities into your day — like playing a board game or following a recipe to create a summertime treat together. Kids thrive on routine, and it will help you all to keep your head in the game.