Category: Parenting Encouragement

Summer Slide Prevention Tips for Parents

Summer Slide Prevention Tips for Parents

Are you looking for summer slide prevention tips? Help your kids keep their academic skills sharp by making learning fun all summer long!

What is the Summer Slide?

The human brain is not meant to retain every piece of information it ever encounters. In fact, our brains regularly “prune” unused bits of data. When we go weeks or months without accessing historical dates, geography, or vocabulary words, the brain assumes we are done with that information and it disappears forever.

Young children especially need repetition and consistency to retain important details like math facts and sight words. When they take an entire summer off from learning, they can lose ground and have to work harder to “catch up” in the fall.

Students who continue reading, writing, and practicing their math skills over the school break can actually move forward with their learning, making the back to school transition even easier. In all of my research on the subject, it seems like there is momentum one way or the other — our brains don’t just sit still. We are all either going forward or falling back…

Preventing the Summer Slide

Preventing the Summer Slide

Summer slide prevention has become a bit of an industry over the past few years. There are workbooks and flashcards, websites, and tutoring centers all designed to help our children find academic success. And while these resources can be helpful for some students, most children need just 15-20 intentional minutes each day to keep their skills sharp.

On a website called “Rolling Prairie Readers,” I’m sure you would guess that we make time for reading every day. Not only do I allow my girls to choose their own books at the library, I also bring home a big stack of non-fiction and picture books that go along with our monthly theme.

Both of my kids are focusing on one specific subject this summer. My youngest is working her way through a handwriting book because she needs more practice with a pencil. My oldest is brushing up on her math skills with our online CTC Math subscription.

We are traveling a few different places this summer as well. We took a boat ride down the Mississippi River right after school got out, and we plan on visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum in Mansfield, Missouri in just a few weeks. We’re also spending quality time in both Narnia and Hogwarts, via our audiobook selection at the library. 😉

Making Learning Fun for Kids

If you’re concerned about preventing the summer slide for your kids, I have a few tips for you:

  • Visit the library at least twice a month. Stock up on books your kids will want to read, even if that’s joke books, graphic novels, or the latest undercover princess goes to spy school novel in the new releases section. Grab a few audiobooks that might be slightly above your child’s reading level and make time to listen to them together. Sign up for the summer reading program and reward your child for getting in 15 minutes a day.
  • Choose one academic skill to work on this summer. Whether it’s handwriting or math facts, creative writing or STEM, commit to spending an hour or less each week on moving your child forward in one area where they typically struggle.
  • Research one of your child’s areas of interest. Study the first walk on the moon or a major historical figure. Visit an art museum in your area or learn more about native plants at a nature center. Go hiking, fishing, boating, or camping — something hands-on that your child will really enjoy!

Awesome Learning Ideas for Kids

Unit studies are a great way to make learning fun all summer long! You can get six of our most popular family activity guides for just $27 to keep your children entertained AND learning during the school break. Or, you can click here to have me create a personalized learning plan specifically for your child’s unique needs.

Making learning fun at home and preventing the summer slide is easier than you’d think! Start with good books, add in some hands-on learning, and finish off with a few family adventures.

If you liked this post, be sure to save it for later:

Summer Slide Prevention Tips for Parents

Best Parenting Books for Teaching Kids at Home

Best Parenting Books for Teaching Kids at Home

On a site called Rolling Prairie Readers, you’d probably expect at least one post with recommendations for parenting books! It’s been on my to-do list for years, so let’s get to it: the best parenting books for teaching kids at home.

Note: this list will be updated frequently, so be sure to come back often!

Best Parenting Books for Teaching Kids at Home

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

Nurture by Nature: Understand Your Child’s Personality Type – And Become a Better Parent by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger

 

MotherStyles by Janet Penley

Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart

The Garden Classroom by Cathy James

What Your **-Grader Needs to Know (series) by E.D. Hirsch

The Power of Play by David Elkind

The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox

The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie C. Martin

The Intentional Bookshelf by Samantha Munoz

The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families: How to Bring Out the Best in Your KIDS and Your SELF by Hal Elrod + Mike and Lindsay McCarthy 

 

Your **-Year-Old (series) by Louise Ames Bates

Keeping Kids Busy at Home

Keeping Kids Busy at Home

For the past six years, I have been a work-at-home mom with my kids home full-time. I won’t lie and say it’s easy balancing a business and family time (while keeping up with housework). I can say it’s gotten easier as my kids have gotten older.

When it comes to keeping kids busy at home, it’s best to start as young as possible. Teaching kids to play independently for small chunks of time during the toddler years will make life easier once the napping years are gone forever.

My older daughter inherited my Type A tendencies. From a young age, she would ask me what our schedule looked like for the day. I ended up re-using one of my pocket charts from my classroom years. I made cards listing the major components of our day: meals, rest time, playdates, errands, read-aloud time, etc.

Each morning, I would arrange our daily calendar for her, leaving room for independent play. She had “choice time” in the morning and in the afternoon. I would choose three free time activities for her (for example, puzzles, blocks, and dress-up), and she would pick from the choices. Before long, Addie was quite good at keeping busy during my working hours, no screen time required!

By the time our younger daughter entered the toddler years, I was not only working at home, I was now homeschooling her older sister for Kindergarten. Suddenly, I needed to fill twice as much time for her!

Thankfully, Katie is a tactile learner. Sensory bins have always kept her busy for hours at a time–and pairing sensory play with our educational playlists meant she was listening and learning through play.

How to Keep Young Kids Busy at Home | Indoor activities for summer, rainy days, and work-at-home moms! Keep toddlers and parents happy with fun and simple learning activities using simple materials.

Keeping Kids Busy at Home | Fun ideas for your little ones to keep busy during summer or rainy days! Simple play ideas using pom poms, pipe cleaners, and popsicle sticks.

Keeping Kids Busy: Simple Play Ideas

I also discovered the idea of “invitations to play” when Katie was nearing the end of the napping years. {You can download all of our seasonal invitations to play FREE here.} She had this little table in her room, and each afternoon, I would set a tray with a new activity on it for her to see when she first woke up.

Her activities ranged from adding pony beads to playdough (and then pulling them all back out again) to building structures for her Little People animals with popsicle sticks. She loved sorting pom poms by color and making bracelets out of pipe cleaners.  

Now that my girls are 6 and 9, they love their free time. They work hard to finish their school work so they can get back to their projects!

Just this week, they put together a play for their stuffed animals! My youngest dictated the entire script for her older sister to write down. They rehearsed, made out invitations, and put on the entire show without any interference from me.

My oldest loves to write books, while my youngest still prefers sensory play. When they start to bicker, it’s time to spread out to different spaces for an hour of quiet time.

Keeping Kids Busy: Screen Time

A lot of moms I know struggle with guilt when it comes to screen time. In my opinion, it’s all about balance. If our kids are getting plenty of time outside, what’s the harm? The trick is finding shows and apps that YOU feel good about!

In our house, we’re big fans of Signing Time (sign language + music), PBS Kids (especially Peg + Cat), and School House Rock. My girls also love to listen to books on Audible, play Stack the States, and practice their math facts on the iPad.

They also love riding their bikes, going to the library, and fishing with their Daddy. Everything in moderation!

When it comes to keeping kids busy at home, during summer or on rainy days, the key is being flexible.


I love helping busy parents connect with their kids through play. Come join our FREE Facebook group for lots of activity ideas and encouragement from other moms!

The Parent Resource Room