It’s More Than Just Academics: Your Guide To Effectively Managing Summer Regression In Kids


As a parent, you know how it goes. The end of the school year comes with a huge relief. 

Everyone is ready for a break. 


Then….three weeks before school starts you really feel it. The kids are getting restless. Irritable. The effects of vacations, later bedtimes, eating different foods, parties, and long days are finally catching up.


Despite the kids wanting more summer fun they need (and miss) their predictable, school routine.


If you notice your child regressing in social, emotional, behavioral, or academic areas you’re not alone. Many kids go through a summer regression and we want to help you be prepared and manage it effectively. Today’s blog discusses what summer regression is and how you can help manage it. 

What Is Summer Regression?


When most people think about summer regression, they think of academics. While it’s true there is learning loss during the summer it’s only one part of summer regression. There are also social, emotional, and behavioral regressions that kids experience.


There’s good news though. Even though regressions are frustrating for parents, they are common and usually short-lived.1 The start of the school year usually can stop summer regression in its tracks. 


During the summer your child might regress in these areas:

  • Academic learning loss (“The Summer Slide”)
  • Emotional regulation
  • Loss of organizational skills and sense of routine
  • Social skills
  • Physical fitness


You may notice that your kids regress in some of these areas and not others. Every child is different and every family is different. Regressions can depend on your child’s personality, how your family spends the summer, and the rules and expectations of the family. 


How do you know your child is regressing? Let’s quickly look at signs of summer regression so you can identify it.  


Signs Of Summer Regression

It’s important to identify if your child is experiencing summer regression so you can help manage it the best you can. 


Some signs of summer regression are:

  • Social withdrawal: spending more time on video games and social media
  • Decrease in physical activities, spending more time indoors and being sedentary
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Increased irritability, frustration, anxiety, or worry
  • Increased temper tantrums in younger kids
  • Difficulty with time management or organizational skills
  • Having a hard time following routines at home
  • Forgetting concepts they previously knew
  • Regressing in areas such as reading, writing, spelling, and math


Some of these signs might be obvious to you and others might be more subtle. You know your child better than anyone so by paying close attention to these areas you’ll be able to figure out which areas your child might be struggling with this summer.


3 Most Common Summer Regressions


Many kids have setbacks in emotional regulation, academics, and organizational skills. Let’s take a deeper dive into these topics.

Emotional Regulation

Kids thrive in a safe, secure, structured environment. Chances are, you’re still trying to implement a routine during the summer but it isn’t quite the same. Kids quickly learn that summer is a time for relaxation and fun. Even if you are trying to stick to a routine, you’ll likely encounter some pushback. After a while, the summer break can create problems with emotional regulation skills.


It’s also important to note that kids who get extra support at school from counselors,  therapists, or other services might not have access to them during the summer which can lead to emotional and behavioral regression.2

To best handle this, it’s important to be prepared. Prepare yourself to be a little more patient when problems arise and encourage kids to problem-solve in an age-appropriate way. Clear and consistent communication can also help. It’s also a great way to model how to express thoughts and feelings.


Other things you can do to help manage emotional regulation regressions are:

  • Stick with routines: have a routine or schedule (even if loose) the best you can.
  • Preset kids: let your kids know what to expect and give them lots of reminders.
  • Spend time outdoors: most people find spending time outdoors is calming and relaxing.
  • Get creative: arts, crafts, music, and other creative activities are great for self-expression and getting kids in touch with their feelings.
  • Journaling: This is great for tweens and teens to work out their thoughts and feelings.
  • Get together with friends from school: This can help kids feel less socially isolated from their peers.
  • Mindfulness: Yoga, guided meditations, and deep breathing can help kids manage stress, feel relaxed, and help teach coping skills.

Academic loss or learning loss


Learning loss also known as “the summer slide” is when kids lose knowledge over the summer break. Younger children from kindergarten to third grade are at greater risk for this.3

Most kids have a long summer break so it’s nearly impossible to avoid the summer slide but there are things you can do to help. We’re going to show you ways to make the summer vacation fun and educational with the least amount of eye rolls. It is possible to sneak in educational activities without making it super obvious. 


Ways to prevent learning loss:

  • Read: By letting your kids guide this you can increase engagement. Let them read what they want and lean into what interests them.
  • Games, puzzles, and legos: These games improve spatial awareness, cognitive abilities, decision-making and can be fun and creative.
  • Take a trip to a museum: This can be a great place to learn something new while also having fun. Many kids museums have fun activities for kids to do.
  • At-home science experiments: There are so many easy, affordable, at-home science experiments you can do to engage kids in the areas of science that interest them.
  • Check your local library: Many libraries have reading challenges or other fun, educational activities for kids during the summer.

Routine and organizational skills


Kids can lose skills such as time management, planning, and even task completion. Many kids just have an overall lax attitude and don’t want to take things very seriously during the summer. Holding kids accountable – even if it’s the most basic of tasks – can help give them a sense of routine. 


How to help kids maintain routine and organizational skills over the summer:4

  • Have a schedule or routine, even if it’s loose. This can prevent boredom and help guide kids, giving them a sense of what to do with their time.
  • Give them autonomy: When appropriate, giving kids autonomy and independence over their routine and schedule can help them with time management skills and responsibility.
  • Appropriate chores: Kids can feel a sense of accomplishment and young kids love to help out. Giving kids just a few age-appropriate chores will help them keep a sense of routine, help them with basic life skills, and learn responsibility.
  • Make a physical schedule: This can help increase independence as well. For younger kids, you can create a visual schedule that they can follow. Encourage them to follow it and complete the tasks they can do on their own. For older kids you can create a checklist-style schedule and ask them to follow it. 


How Neurofeedback Can Help


Neurofeedback can help optimize the brain for best performance and allows the user to be in a more calm, relaxed state. 


Neurofeedback can help:

  • Promote healthy sleep habits
  • Promote relaxation and stress management
  • Improve mental acuity 
  • Improve focus and attention
  • Manage stress
  • Increase emotional resilience
  • Improve performance or sports anxiety
  • Brings the user back to the present moment


Reaping any of these benefits can help prevent or minimize summer regression. Here at Whole Family Neurofeedback we rent and sell NeurOptimal® neurofeedback, an advanced system that’s FDA-designated as a general wellness product. It’s easy to use and can be done at home. This makes it great for kids to do over the summer. During the neurofeedback sessions, they just sit back and watch a movie or listen to music.

Doing neurofeedback over the summer can set them up for a great start to the school year. This happened to Brooke who wanted to help her teenage son with ADHD. He was struggling in school, not completing assignments, and needed help with organizational skills.

After just 20 NeurOptimal® sessions her son was doing his homework and cleaning his room without being asked. He even had his best semester in school with teachers noticing huge improvements in focus and attention. Brooke plans to make doing NeurOptimal® sessions before the start of the school year a routine as she felt it really helped her son get a jump start on the school year.

Learn More About Neurofeedback: Join Our Free Community Of Parents

If you’re interested in learning more about neurofeedback and how it can help the whole family, join our free Facebook group, Neurofeedback Moms (Dads are welcome too).

We have a great community of parents learning about neurofeedback, asking questions, and sharing their experiences.

In the group you’ll get:

  • Research-based information to help you make the best decisions for your family
  • Live support from experts in parenting, neurofeedback, nutrition, therapy, and neuroscience
  • Two-minute tidbits where I go live and share digestible information about neurofeedback in two minutes or less
  • Lifetime access to all live recordings – watch at your convenience!
  • Information about funding for NeurOptimal® and any deals we offer
  • Support when you need it!


If you want help navigating summer regression and learn more about neurofeedback, join us inside Neurofeedback Moms.

We can’t wait to meet you!




  1. What Is Childhood Regression?
  2. Kids’ Mental Health Can Decline During The Summer
  3. How To Prevent Your Kids From Losing What They Learned During Summer Vacation
  4. Strategies For A Successful Summer Break