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Reversing the COVID Slide: Tips to Help Children Prepare For the Fall

High school students wearing masks take tests in a science lab at school after the COVID slide

In-person and online summer classes for 2021

Key takeaways:

  • Many children struggled during the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID, school shutdowns, and issues with remote learning.
  • Parents can help their children prepare for the 2021-2022 school year by implementing routines and practicing reading, writing, math, and exercise during the summer.
  • There are many programs available to parents and children that will help reverse the effects of the COVID slide and prepare students for the upcoming school year.
  • One of the new challenges of the coming academic year is to manage children’s fears and anxiety.
  • The Summer Institute at American Heritage Schools is a great way to give your child confidence and a positive attitude for the new year.

For students, families, and educators, the transition to “back to school” this fall comes with new challenges. Many children struggled or fell behind last year due to COVID-19, school shutdowns, and remote learning challenges.

Even though students may have lost some ground over the last school year, they don’t have to continue the losses over the summer. You can help your child catch up from learning losses and prepare for the fall. Here are a few simple ways to promote summer learning:

Read every day

Reading over the summer has a positive impact on back-to-school confidence. Visit the library and let your child choose books to check out. Listen to books on tape. Subscribe to a podcast. Take turns reading out loud as a family. Allow for a later bedtime as long as it involves reading.

Use math every day

Learning losses for students in math are real and can make a new school year difficult. Take your child to the grocery store and use math to count prices. Encourage your child to play online math games. Practice important mathematical concepts by making up math problems in the car, at the dinner table, or at the store.  

Get outside and play

Physical activity has positive effects on social and emotional well-being, health and wellness, and school and life achievement. Find ways for your child to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. Walk the dog, swim, play a sport, go for a family bike ride, or hike.

Write every week

A summer writing routine will help students hone their literacy skills and express themselves creatively. Encourage your child to keep a summer journal. Ask him or her to write letters to grandparents, relatives, and faraway friends. He or she might also like to write a fan letter to an athlete, actor, or celebrity.


Work on your child’s social-emotional development with community service. Encourage your child to help a neighbor or local group with a service project. Expose him or her to different charities that are in line with their interests.

Take advantage of online resources

There are a plethora of online resources to help parents work with their children to prepare for the new school year. For example, the Florida Department of Education has compiled a list of free resources for families and teachers to support learners as they prepare to return to school in person.

Educational companies also offer activities to keep kids learning all summer. offers a list of 25 activities to keep kids’ brains active all summer long. Educational publisher Scholastic has curated a free digital summer learning hub to support children in pre-kindergarten to grade nine. Additionally, local libraries often have classes and summer learning programs.

Understand that your child may have anxiety about heading back to the classroom

Children heading back to in-person learning may feel anxiety about being separated from their families after months of togetherness. Parents have the complicated task of reassuring children that it’s safe to be away from them but also encouraging them to be careful and preparing them to be flexible in the case of situational changes. Here are some pointers for dealing with back-to-school anxiety:

  • Validate their feelings while staying calm and positive
    If your child is struggling with separation, let your child know that you will miss him or her, too, but that you’re proud of him or her for going back to school. Parents need to lead the charge and set the tone for a positive school experience.
  • Have a routine
    Make sure that your child has a predictable routine leading up to the first day of school that will help your child feel more secure. Set a schedule for weekdays and weekends, as both children and teens perform best when there are plans for each day. Set regular bedtimes and wake-ups.
  • Emphasize safety measures
    Express confidence to your child that the school has done months of planning to minimize risk and keep students safe and healthy.
  • Encourage flexibility
    Prepare students for the possibility that they may start school in-person, but they may have to switch to remote learning, at least for some periods.

Hire a tutor or enroll in a formal summer education program

A trusted and talented academic tutor can make great strides in regaining some of the learning lost due to the COVID slide. It can make for a transformative summer for struggling learners.

Also, summer learning programs can help bridge the gap and bring confidence to students. Summer education keeps students’ academic skills polished and makes it possible for students to catch up. Students who enroll in summer learning programs often bring more confidence and a positive attitude to the new school year.

The American Heritage Schools offer a comprehensive Summer Institute that may be the perfect fit for your learner. Lower, middle, and high school courses are offered online or in-person at our Palm Beach and Broward campuses. All courses are age-appropriate and promote a love of learning. Our middle school and high school offerings feature exciting electives and include advanced subjects.

For information on our summer education offerings, contact us today.