The “Summer Slide”
You may have heard the term, “Summer Slide.” It refers to the perceived loss of learning that children may experience over the summer months. The assumption is that the only learning that matters occurs in school, and without that daily reinforcement children will be at a deficit in September. This is a very narrow definition of learning, and yet it often goes unchallenged. Grey, 2017, suggests that the most important lessons of life are learned in more unstructured settings; giving us opportunities to make our own decisions, create our own activities, and figure out how to be with ourselves and each other.
Posted Jul 22, 2017, Peter Gray Ph.D. Psychology Today
As we head off into summer break, I reflect back on my own experience as a parent.
In the summer of 2001 my son was five years old and I started to read him the first Harry Potter book. We sat on the couch and read a lot that summer. Sure he went to day camp and swimming lessons and participated in other summer activities, but what I remember most fondly is being curled up together and reading to him for hours on end. Happily, there were seven other books and we got to do this for seven summers. Sometimes as he got older, we would share the reading, but mostly he preferred just listening. And yes, as he got older, the space between us on the couch grew… though he stayed close.
These are deep and lovely memories of being with my boy (who is now grown). Why am I telling you this story? I think that as parents, we want to give our children EVERYTHING. We want to be THE BEST parents and make sure that our children don’t MISS OUT. But the most important stuff happens in the times between all the planning and structure.
Be quiet with your children this summer, lay around, relax, draw, read, listen to music, play! They will be out of the house in what will feel like a minute. The summer slides to think about are the slip n slide or the slides in the playground or the slides at the water park!
Have Fun. Enjoy your precious children.