The Summer Slide

Helen B, Consumer Communications Champion at from you to me and mum of two boys, introduces My Summer Rant & Rave - our summer writing competition for primary aged children - and explains the motivation behind it. 

In the US the term ‘the summer slide’ is pretty well known, as for here in the UK we might be more familiar with the term ‘summer learning loss’ or perhaps you’ve never heard of either. While we have much shorter summer holidays than in the US (where they have between 2.5 and 3 months!) if like me you’re a parent of a primary aged child or children, I’m sure you are familiar with the worry that your child’s learning may regress even during our relatively short summer holidays.

Don’t get me wrong, as a mum of two boys aged 6 and 9, I can’t wait for the school holidays (especially given the current heatwave – it’s wreaking havoc with their sleep and we’ve still another 3 weeks of school to go where we live!), for all of us to have less pressure and for us to enjoy some quality family time. I am a firm advocate of switching off from the school routine and giving my boys the opportunity to have more time to simply play, something the busy school week schedule of school plus clubs leaves little time for! I also can’t wait to take them for some fun days out exploring new places, and of course we’re all desperate for the much anticipated family holiday away.

However, having said all this I have to admit that 2 years ago I spent some time knocking up a homemade folder of activities for my eldest to do over the summer holidays to help him keep up his handwriting (something he was really struggling with). I have in previous years also been known to scour the shelves of WHSmith for suitable summer workbooks to make my life easier in giving them activities to help maintain their learning. I have also taken each year to ‘treating’ my boys to a new notebook at the start of the holidays – to be used as a summer diary, the perfect excuse to keep them writing! And of course I sign them up to the Summer Reading Challenge every year – what a god send that is!

All this made me think, surely I’m not the only parent doing these things? Trying to find the right balance between letting them chill out in the holidays and being a dedicated mum who wants to ensure their brains don’t turn to jelly? Lucky for me I work for an amazing company where 1. I am allowed to have some unpaid leave over the summer to give me the time to reconnect with my children and 2. We publish some fab (yes I am biased) activity journals for primary aged children. So my colleague and I got talking about how we could really use some of the ideas and ethos behind these journals to create a summer campaign that would provide fun activities to help parents keep their children putting pen to paper and using their imagination during the summer holidays.

Et voila My Summer Rant & Rave was born! I really hope you like the free fortnightly activities we’re offering throughout the summer, you can find full details about these, the dates they will be available and of course the prizes here. We’re also going to be posting heaps of extra ingenious ideas for keeping the little people busy both at home and outdoors, so do check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for these.

Wishing you all a great summer holiday making some magical memories!