Avoid the Summer Slide

Avoid the Summer Slide


Aya Fubara Eneli, M.A.,



Summer is here and most kids are beyond themselves with joy as they dream of idyllic days with no alarms, no homework and all the time in the world to fulfill their hearts’ desires. For this generation of children, that includes countless mind-numbing hours watching TV and playing any manner of electronic games.  My five children definitely subscribe to the above sentiments, but to their dismay, their mother has some slightly different ideas.

As far as my parents were concerned, summer is as much for fun as it is for preparing for
one’s future. Based on the belief that an idle mind is the devil’s playground, my mother required us to have a written schedule (she called it a timetable) that outlined my plan for each day. My daily chores had to be completed, and a certain amount of time each day allocated to reading or solving math problems. Once those requirements were met, I could do what I liked (within reason) for the rest of the day. Turns out she was unto something.

In the 1980s, Karl L. Alexander, Doris R, Entwisle and Linda S. Olson from John’s Hopkins University conducted a study of 650 children from Baltimore. This study was called Schools Achievement and Inequality: A Seasonal Perspective. Based on their results, the authors coined the term Summer Slide – the regression that occurs in students who are not actively engaged in activities that further learning during the summer break. As an attorney, I have often witnessed the unfortunate mischief kids and teenagers can get into when there is little to no structure to their days.

As you make your plans for your children this summer, be sure to give them plenty of
opportunities to use and even advance the educational skills they have acquired so far. While some parents can afford hands-on camps, tutoring and fun vacations to exotic places, all parents can ensure their children are challenged and engaged regardless of socio-economic status. Here are a few ideas to stimulate learning:

–     Visit the local library regularly for free books, educational videos and programs.

–    Go to free museum days.

–   Create a system for children to earn television and computer time for non-educational purposes. (My kids earn time based on the number of books and reports they write.)

–    Visit a zoo

–    Ask for a behind the scenes tour of an amusement park. (Lots of
science goes into a great park.)

–    Plant a garden, start a recycling program or even a compost.

–     Set reading goals

–     Encourage creative play. Let them come up with their own skits.

–   Keep them physically active.

–    Take day trips to areas of interest and have picnics in local parks.

–    Set a family fitness goal and track your progress.

–    Older kids can shadow a professional in an area of their interest.

–   Encourage them to write/create a family history by interviewing older members of the family.

No matter where you live, there is plenty around you to stimulate your young one if you intently seek them out. Let summer not only be a time of fun and rejuvenation, let it also prepare and propel your youngsters to a brighter future.

For more information on engaging children during the summer checkout, Kids Reading Ideas for Summer Vacation, Best Fun Free Educational Websites for Kids, and Kid’s Educational Summer Activities – Keep Children Engaged.

Aya Fubara Eneli is a best-selling author, Christian Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Attorney. For daily success tips, “Like” her page at www.facebook.com/ayaeneli and join her community of women motivated to be their best. For more information, visit www.ayaeneli.com, follow her on twitter @ayaeneli or e-mail her at info@ayaeneli.com.