Prevent Learning Loss - An Easy Summer Routine for Kids

School’s out for summer! Your kiddo might be dreaming of endless sleepovers and ice cream trucks, but did you know that research shows a significant number of students experience a learning setback during the long break? Studies reveal that kids can lose up to two months of reading skills or 2.5 months of math progress in just a few summer months (Austrew, 2022).

But don’t worry. This article will equip you with the tools to combat this potential regression. We’ll talk about the common challenges of transitioning into summer break, why routines are so effective, and how you can implement them in your families day-to-day. So, let’s dive in and turn this summer into a season of growth and unforgettable memories.

Summer Slide

While the carefree shouts of summer vacation fill the air, transitioning from the structured world of school to the open-ended schedule of free time can be intimidating for some parents.

An article published in 2023 by Mayo Clinic highlighted the importance of routines for children’s well-being once summer began.

After a year of predictable wake-up times, homework, and after-school activities, an abrupt shift to unstructured days can lead to inconsistencies in sleep schedules, meals, and overall routine. This can be disruptive for both children and parents (Mayo Clinic, 2023).

Research dating back to 1996 has highlighted the phenomenon known as the “summer slide,” where students experience a regression in academic performance during the break. Studies have shown that this regression, particularly in reading and math skills, can have long-lasting effects on a child’s educational journey (Cooper, 1996). However, armed with the right tools and strategies, parents can mitigate the effects of the summer slide and keep their children on track for success.

Why A Summer Schedule Matters

Now that we have talked about some of the common challenges like the summer slide, let’s move on to the benefits that come from maintaining a routine. Here are a few reasons why having some structure during the freewheeling months can be a game-changer for your child:

Stable Schedule

A complete break in schedule can be disorienting for kids. A summer routine provides a sense of structure and stability, helping them feel secure and organized, which allows them to thrive during the free and unstructured moments of summer (Lifespan Learning Institute, 2023).

High Confidence

Completing tasks and activities according to a routine gives children a sense of accomplishment, leading to increased self-esteem and confidence. This feeling of mastery motivates them to tackle new challenges and ignites a passion for lifelong learning (King, 2019). As we explore the daytime and nighttime routines, please keep in mind that these are completely customizable and may be adjusted to fit your children’s needs.

The Routine


  • Wake Up: Kids get up naturally.
  • Play Time (Optional): Allow kids some playtime in their room until 7 am.
  • Get Dressed: Kids choose their outfit from clothes picked out on Sundays and stored in a file organizer.
  • Prep: While waiting for breakfast, kids can engage in quiet activities (reading, drawing, legos, etc.).
  • Eat Breakfast: Enjoy a healthy meal together.
    Free Play: Kids have free play time indoors or outdoors for an hour.
  • Day Activity: Head out for a planned activity or outing after free play.


  • Wind-Down: Draw the curtains to create a calming atmosphere.
  • Bath/Shower: Schedule baths or showers 2-3 times a week for cleanliness and relaxation.
    Pajamas: Get ready for bed by putting on pajamas.
  • Bedtime Snack: Enjoy a small, healthy bedtime snack to prevent hunger pangs at night. (Optional: Briefly explain why a bedtime snack is helpful, like “Kids who are growing might need a little extra fuel at night.”)
  • Connect: Choose one activity for quiet bonding like reading together or playing a game that promotes conversation.
  • Relax: (Optional): Involve the kids in setting up a relaxing diffuser with essential oils and apply calming essential oils using upward strokes along the back.
  • Hygiene: Brush teeth, use the toilet, and settle into bed.
  • Quiet Time: Allow kids to read or play quietly with dim lights for 30 minutes. If they’re still awake, gently remind them that it’s lights-out time (Tamm, 2022).

Summer Spirit

Summer break is a magical time for both children and parents. A well-crafted routine can help you achieve that perfect balance between structure and free play. While routines provide a sense of security and prevent learning regression, they shouldn’t overshadow the spirit of summer – carefree fun, exploration, and quality family time.

Embrace the flexibility of summer, create a routine that works for you, and get ready for a season of joy, laughter, and lasting memories!

Works Cited