CogniFit's Science blog: Summer Vacation Takes Its Toll On Young Minds

Summer Vacation Takes Its Toll On Young Minds

Now that the summer vacation have arrived, it is time to evaluate what that long break does to all the things children learned during the school year.

Research has shown that children can lose an average of two months learning over the summer months if they don’t stay mentally active and are not mind training. When they do finally return to classes, it may take more than one month to get back into the swing of things and get back on track with their lessons.

As adults, we know how hard it is to get back into the work mindset after a nice weekend off. Just think how hard that would be with a 6-8 week break with nothing to do but watch TV and look at the clouds go by.

The study, published by Johns Hopkins University’s National Centre for Summer Learning, found that math skills learned during the previous year can fall off by two months during the summer and the reading skills of children from low-income families suffer as well.

Children from middle-class backgrounds were found to improve their reading skills during the summer. This has been attributed to the fact that while academic resources for the poorer families dry up during the summer, middle class families have the means to invest in enrichment activities during the holidays.

Experts agree that the summer vacation should be used to read, read and read. Parents are advised to limit TV, go on trips with the kids, and play board games with them too. Following a sports team’s statistics and scores can help children keep their math skills fresh. Cooking can also help with reading skills (following recipes) and math skills (measuring ingredients).

Vacation is a time for rest and relaxation, but it shouldn’t be a time when our children’s minds are allowed to “go soft.” Children should be kept both physically and mentally active, and not just during the summer, but the whole year round. Brain training can help.