SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Summer vacation is just around the corner for most children, and this week, parenting journalist and educator Donna Tetreault joins ABC4 to talk about the importance of social and emotional learning while school is out.

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According to Tetreault, it’s common for learning loss to happen during the summer months when children are out of school, with some kids losing up to 40% of the gains they made over the academic year.

Tetreault says teachers and school districts will be busy this summer seeing what they can do to help address this “summer slide.”

“The key to helping them is through social and emotional practices and learning,” Tetreault explains.

According to Tetreault, school districts will be busy training their teachers on these social and emotional practices as well as expanding their mental health programs.

But what can parents do to help their children over the summer?

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Tetreault says school districts are asking parents to “try and find positive ways of dealing with life, school, and friends” to help them better adjust and return to the classroom.

“We know that when kids are happy in school, they do better in school,” Tetreault adds.

However, she also says it’s important to keep things fresh.

“Be outdoors as much as possible. Field trips, new adventures; even if it’s just going to the beach,” she says.

According to Tetreault, doing this will provide children with incredibly important opportunities for hands-on learning.

But what should parents be spending their time and money on in order to benefit their child?

Tetreault says it depends on the child and the parent.

“You don’t really need to get them that math or reading summer class. Find something that brings them joy. Make sure they’re having extra time with extended family,” Tetreault says.

“We don’t want them to get so rigid that they need to be in a classroom for them to move forward,” she adds.

Whatever brings your child the most joy will provide your child with the learning opportunities they need, explains the parenting journalist and educator.

As students prepare for what is hopefully a more “normal” school year, Tetreault says it’s important for parents to check in with how their children are doing emotionally every day.

Tetreault explains that just asking your child “How are you feeling today?” and letting them identify those emotions is a step in the right direction.