NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – One of the biggest challenges for parents ever summer is preventing the “summer slide,” when children lose academic skills and dispositions gained during the school year due to the absence or infrequency of learning activities during summer vacation.

CBS2’s Cindy Hsu talked with parenting expert Chrissy Khachane on how to keep kids on track.

Tip #1. The most important skill parents can spend time on over the summer is reading. Children should read for 20 minutes a day (for young children, this includes being read to by and an adult). You can establish a family reading program or take advantage of what is available at your local library. Summer can be a great time to introduce a series to your child and become a great reading motivation. And if reading has taken a back seat in your house this summer it is easy to start back up again by simply taking a few minutes with your bedtime routine to read aloud with your child.

Tip #2. Keep a summer journal and ask your child to write daily. The topic can vary from sharing thoughts on something they’ve read, writing a short story using details from a recent outing, or writing out a plan for an upcoming vacation. Younger children can draw a picture for their journal entry and label important details. This can also be a great transition back to school activity and doesn’t have to be extravagant or elaborate. Simply having your child work on a writing activity for 5-10 minutes will help them with the transition to more traditional classroom expectations.

Tip #3. Use family vacations and even daily activities into learning opportunities. Children can turn a family vacation into a social studies project researching information about the destination, including local historical sites to visit during the trip. Children can create maps, keep a journal throughout the vacation, or even write a fictional story based on the things they see while away. Daily activities, such as an outing to the grocery store, can include math activities or a trip to visit a friend/family member can involve creating a map with labels of important information (younger children can identify shapes and colors they see along the way).