NEA Parents' Resources

Getting Through the Holiday Hump

While the holidays can be great for families, they can also wreak havoc on students’ focus. It may be more difficult to get back into the swing of academia again after a long break.

Everyone knows the old saying: if you don’t use it, you lose it. Although it is not as long as summer vacation, the winter holiday can still lead to some learning loss or a potential lack of enthusiasm toward finishing the year strong.

Instead of letting the holidays be a distraction, check out some tips for helping your child stay engaged in learning over the break.

  • Suggest a new book to start reading. Sometimes kids may feel unenthusiastic about reading for fun due to the amount of academic reading that have to do during the school year. Having a more creative outlet to charge their brain and dive into a story can be great for your child. Check out this list of top reads for 2017, broken down by age group. Additionally, taking a trip to your local library can be a fun activity to get out of the house and expose them to a great resource.
  • Review important school concepts. Spend a little bit of the day, preferably in the morning when your child is at their sharpest, to review concepts with your child. This can be a fun way to stay engaged with your child, know exactly what they are learning in school and bond with them. Even just quizzing them over breakfast can be a great time.
  • Keep a journal. Breaks from school are also great times to pick up academic hobbies. Journaling, for example, can be an incredibly therapeutic device for memory improvement. Encourage your child to write down what they found to be interesting or what they pondered during the day. Thinking critically back on the day’s activities is great for brain flow.
  • Get creative online. There is a vast range of online resources for every type of learner. Instead of letting them spend hours idly on the computer, suggest they try out some creative sites, such as Brushes Mobile Painting App or Lego Digital Designer.
  • Go out and explore. Planning a trip to a neighborhood park or embarking on a hike can be a learning adventure for your child. Look for different kinds of plants, trees and animals you see. Also, simply being outside surrounded by nature can make you healthier, happier, less stressed and more alert.
  • Head to the museums. Consider spending a day at an art, natural history or science museum. Many museums have student discounts, which make the trip all the more worth it. Additionally, some offer kids educational classes like pottery, painting, scientific experimentation and photography.
  • Get cooking. Encourage your child to look through your collection of cookbooks or find one at your local library. For tips on how you can make tasty meals with your child while incorporating important lessons from school, click here [link to STEM article about taking class lessons to the kitchen].
  • Start volunteering. Talk to your child about their personal values, like protecting the environment or helping others in need. Volunteering is a valuable experience for your child as they develop leadership and job skills. Exposing them to new people and making professional connections with their communities can set them on the road for success.

A final note to remember is that it’s also okay to let your child take a little break and just decompress from a stressful and busy semester. Finding that happy balance between activities and relaxation is key.

 

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