Summer is a time for both kids and families to unwind. It’s also a time of the year that kids around the country eagerly look forward to. However, summer can be a detrimental time for children’s learning from the past school year to regress. One study found that the average student loses 17 to 34% of the previous year’s academic gains during the summer months. The summer slide is also applicable to physical activity. Physical activity in kids is seen to decrease during the summer holiday. Not to worry! Summer can provide a period of learning, growth, and physical fitness for kids if used wisely. Summer programs are a great way to support your child during summer break!
There are many options out there to suit you and your child’s needs over the summer. These programs work hard to make enrichment fun for kids during the summer months when they’d rather be at the pool! If you’re still on the fence about summer programs, here are some of the many ways summer programs can benefit your child:
1. Promotes Social Development
Summer programs help kids keep their minds fresh over the summer. However, kids don’t necessarily look forward to summer enrichment activities. Rather, they look forward to socialization! Summer programs create a community over the summer months that allow kids to interact with their peers. Summer socialization is often overlooked, but entirely necessary for your child’s development. Social skills can grow immensely during summer programs. Kids are given the opportunity to participate in teamwork activities, step outside of their comfort zone, and meet new peers outside of the typical classroom setting.
2. Increases Physical Activity
Staying physically active over the summer is easier said than done. Without gym class and school sports, physical activity can fall by the wayside. There are many benefits to physical activity for kids. Keeping active helps reduce stress, improves cognitive skills, and raises energy levels. It is also another great way for kids to forge genuine connections with others. Most summer programs offer some level of physical activity. Whether it be playing tag outside or playing soccer with a group of kids, there are many opportunities to get kids active and moving.
3. Builds Self-Esteem
Summer programs give kids the opportunity to find a sense of independence. During the school year, kids must follow a strict regimen and a variety of rules. While those still exist in most summer programs, kids have more freedom to interact with each other and choose what activities they want to try. This freedom gives children the chance to take action and earn results. Through hard work and achievement, kids can see that they don’t need to rely on their parents and teachers for everything. In the long run, finding independence will help your child reach their full potential.
4. Provides Routine
The summer months can lack routine and structure. Kids go from a regimented schedule five days a week to total freedom in the summer. This is one of the reasons kids lose some of the cognitive development they gained the year before. If children are faced with zero responsibilities, their development can fall behind over the summer months. Summer programs benefit children because they provide routine, which helps teach children responsibility and self-control. Routine also helps children learn to regulate their emotions and find stability. Enrolling your child in a summer program can make up for the lack of routine throughout summertime.
5. Nurtures Academic Growth
Academics can seem unappealing to kids when they’re out for summer. This is a huge reason why the summer slide exists. Generic summer school activities can be dull. Kids need a way to experience learning and enrichment in a fresh and exciting way. Summer programs work hard to structure daily activities around educational topics. Whether kids learn how to grow a plant, play Monopoly, or participate in arts and crafts, they are exercising their brains. Some programs are more academically focused than others. The options are endless depending on subjects and topics your child may need to work on.
Summer doesn’t have to be a time of chaos! Parents looking for support and for opportunities to provide their children structure should explore their local summer programs. These programs can help kids academically, socially, physically, and emotionally. Regardless of you and your child’s needs, an appropriate option is out there! Once you have chosen the right program for your child, there are many opportunities to choose from that fit your needs. If you’re interested in enrolling your child, check out AYS’ Summer Enrichment camp at www.ayskids.org/summer!