Prevent Summer Slide: Use F.R.A.M.E.S. To Keep Your Kids Engaged

Summertime means schools release their students into the 24/7 care of their parents. As a mom, I am thrilled to have lazy mornings, ice cream runs, late night star gazing, beach days, and spontaneous adventures. But as a teacher, I am preparing for a new class in the fall where the kids either did every one of these things above or vegged on a screen the whole summer. That means I am forced to play catch up and review the previous year despite being ready to hit the ground running with new learning and my own curriculum.

So how can we as parents keep our children’s skills sharp and give them a summer that is truly a break from the rigor of school?

To prevent summer slide, keep your family summer in F.R.A.M.E.S.

*** F: Family ***

Spend time together as a family. Have your kiddos do chores. It helps with executive functioning and keeps momma sane{ish}. Have your big kids be in charge of a meal once a week. Recipes are great for reading, math, and science. Play board games and cards for counting practice, one-to-one correspondence, and decision making. Sing songs together to build phonemic awareness as a pre-reading skill. Family time creates the building blocks for a slew of bigger learning opportunities. Parents will forever be a child’s first teacher.

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*** R: Read ***

This can happen in so many ways. Have your bigs read to your littles. Make a weekly library trip. The Genesee District Library or any local library in your area likely has so many fun summer events planned! Make your kiddos read the menus and signs to you. Pick a few chapter books and just read aloud to your whole family a few times a week. Stories around the bonfire while camping? Yes, please!

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*** A: Art ***

Whether it is fine art or performing art, when a child is immersed in creation, neurons are firing like crazy and building a part of the brain that school doesn’t necessarily have time to provide these days. They are learning to focus, make decisions, build fine motor skills, and persevere. 

Sign up for a local class in your community through the parks department or just get the paints out once a week. Pinterest has a bazillion ideas on how to get artsy with your kiddos, but if you are a little more like me, the Dollar Tree has some simple “how-to” drawing books and drawing pads that are perfect for rainy summer days.

And don’t forget to check out Concerts in the Park options close by for free summer fun. Music is art we can all enjoy together!

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*** M: Movement ***

There is no doubt that our children are constantly moving from birth through preschool. Then, the school setting tends to create a more sedentary situation that is detrimental to the growing brain and learning. Using our large muscle groups for 60 minutes a day is not only beneficial to building the brain, but it sets up healthy habits for the future too. Summer is made for swimming, running, biking, playgrounds, jump ropes, and nature hikes! Just think… every time you send your kiddo out to play, you are preparing him for the next school year.

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*** E: Explore Nature ***

Green spaces are good for our mental health. Kids who spend a lot of time outdoors tend to be more focused, more creative, more empathetic and less anxious all around. The peace of nature creates a feeling of peace inside of us. For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum has programs, a tree house, and trails to explore. Applewood has free events all summer long to be outside and learn. Give your kiddos an empty jar and let them find insects and plant life to research. Plant a small container garden or lay on your trampoline and star gaze.

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*** S: Set Limits on Technology ***

This is such a controversial topic among parents, but the studies show that too much technology hinders brain development. The way our children consume screens is much different than the way we did growing up. The key is to set age-appropriate limits and also teach our kids to prioritize. Did they complete their morning routine before screen time? Have they balanced out their day with enough play, chores, outside time, and self-care? Maybe we have to also look at limiting our own tech time as a model for our kids.

Summer is sacred, especially in Michigan because it is so short, but it is oh so sweet! Don’t let that awesome learning slip away while savoring the season. Keep your family in F.R.A.M.E.S. and don’t forget to stop by the Mid-Michigan Moms Facebook and Instagram for great ideas and to share what you are up to with all of us!

We can’t wait to share our summer with you!

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We are passionate about the Mid-Michigan community and the moms who live here. Our goal is to make this community feel just a little bit smaller. By using both our website, as well as, various social media outlets, we are able to keep you up to date on family-friendly activities around town, provide advice on motherhood, and encourage each of you to get out and explore all that our wonderful area has to offer!

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