Prevent Summer Brain Drain

Cassidy Lutz
K-State Research and Extension 
Family and Consumer Science Agent 
Southwind District 
211 W. Butler 
Yates Center, KS 66783


School is out for the summer for a majority of the schools in the area. I have noticed much more activity in my town as kids are out riding bikes, walking around the town square, and visiting the local park.

With all the beautiful summer days ahead, kids have all sorts of opportunities to take advantage of their summer vacation. But should fighting “summer brain drain” be part of their plans?

The last thing children want to think about during the off-season is all the knowledge and skills they gained during the past school year. Summer brain drain is explained by experts as a lapse in what children remember during summer. This could include forgetting strategies or skills that will have to be retaught at the beginning of the next school year. Evidence shows more challenging subjects such as math and science are the first topics that students experience the most impact in.


As parents, there are ways you can help prevent the backward slide of knowledge during the upcoming summer months.

Reading for as little as 10-15 minutes each day can enhance vocabulary, extend comprehension, and generate curiosity. This is true for all ages, so encourage your kiddos to pick up a book each day or even enroll in a summer reading program through local libraries. Reading can also be incorporated into everyday activities such as reading instructions on how to build a new toy or preparing a new recipe. Negative impacts are also shown in reading skills, so consider having your child start a simple summer journal or diary.

Parents should help to maintain structure during the summer. Structure and routines provide kids with a sense of security and comfort year-round, not just during the school year. Daily routines encourage healthy choices and teach healthy behaviors while teaching responsibility and self-control. Try to add daily exercise, set a time for reading and writing, and plan family meals together. Hold them accountable for their routines by creating a list or writing it on a family calendar. By having the ability to check off a to-do item, they will feel a sense of accomplishment from even the smallest tasks.

Consider using these simple tips to help your child thrive this summer. Remember, summer brain drain is not a complete loss of information but more of a lapse and should not be the source of stress or anxiety. Focus on encouraging natural experiences for learning at any opportunity. For more information, contact Cassidy Lutz at [email protected] or by calling 620-625-8620.

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