3 Ways to Put the Brake on Winter Break Backslide

3 Ways to Put the Brake on Winter Break Backslide

Winter break is almost here. While this may make some parents reach for the holiday nog, most kids are probably jumping with excitement. We hate to burst their bubbles, but we adults know that while breaks can be a lot of fun, they are also times when kids get out of the habits that help them do well in school.

So how can parents help their children to keep those habits going without looking like the Grinch?

  • Try to maintain reasonable bed and wake-up times. Kids love to stay up late during breaks and then they (and their parents) get the chance to sleep in. But this can lead to a really rude awakening on that first day back to school. So let your kids stay up a little later (like a half hour) than usual and sleep in a few minutes more. But a few days (3-4) before school starts, go back to your regular bedtime and morning routines. And preteach your kids that this is what you will do. You can also let them know that this will keep them from feeling groggy and sleepy during the break, so that they can have more fun!
  • Get physical exercise. The temptation to veg out in front out screens can be huge during this break, especially since the weather can be iffy. But if you want to maintain regular bed times (and your sanity), it can help to wear the kids out. Parks and other outside recreational areas are a great place to do this. You can also go on walks and look at holiday decorations or go on scavenger hunts for seasonal things such as pine cones and holly. If the weather outside is frightful, a lot of malls have indoor playgrounds for smaller kids. Indoor pools, skating rinks, gymnastics studios, and soccer fields are also great places to run off steam and many feature winter break specials. Libraries also have a lot of programming for kids of all ages. When children are out and about and likely to run into other children, it’s also a good time to remind them about being friendly and cooperative and shrugging their shoulders and saying “oh well” if another child does not want to play.
  • Keep reading! As we have said before, reading is one of the best ways to sharpen your kids’ learning skills. Winter break is a great time to mix it up and read about all of the different holidays and traditions around the world. You can also change your reading times around a bit; instead of reading before bed, maybe you can have “Books for Breakfast”. Include your children in your holiday baking plans by having them read the recipe to you. Have them write notes in your holiday cards or help address the cards. If you have people over, your son or daughter can help you write the guest list or even make name or place tags. Or have them make a list of the activities that they would like to do over the break! There are all sorts of ways to keep reading exciting and sneak it in during the break.

There are lots of ways to keep your children’s skills and good habits sharp over the winter break. So grab a cup of hot chocolate and a good book and have a good time!

Image: © Surisuri | Dreamstime.com


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Katherine Pears
Dr. Katherine Pears is a senior scientist at Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC). She earned her Ph.D in clinical psychology and has worked with OSLC since 1998. Katherine is the principal investigator and co-developer of the Kids In Transition to Schools (KITS) program. Currently, she oversees all the clinical and research activities for KITS. When she’s not in her office, you’ll find Katherine in the kitchen whipping up her latest creation or outdoors hiking a scenic trail.


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