The Holidays. Breaks and Backslides

by Andrea K. Clark

Well, another year has come full circle and we find ourselves in the midst of the holidays once again. Every year seems to go by faster than the last, at least that’s how it goes for me anyways. Today was my son’s last day of school…he’s officially on break for Christmas and New Year’s. In his mind, it’s time to cut loose and have fun.

While I’m all about having fun over holiday break, I don’t want to see my son have too much fun and forget half of what he has been learning at school either. Please don’t misunderstand me, I think kids should be able to have a break from school and have fun over their Christmas breaks…after all, isn’t that what it’s all about for them? Plus, they have a lot more to deal with at school these days than we did at their age. All I’m suggesting is that we look for fun, creative ways to help reinforce the things they have learned in school while they are on break. Here are a few ideas:

1. Read Christmas Stories – Reading is one of the most important, if not the most important, skills that our children will learn how to do. And, if they learn how to read well, at a young age, then their schoolwork will be easier for them later on. Therefore, encourage reading over the break by introducing new Christmas books and reading them together before bed. Make sure to get a few easier ones that they can read, but also get some more advanced books for you to read to your kids. Mixing it up will keep reading fun for the kids over break and they won’t feel like they’re working either.

2. Play Board Games – Believe it or not, board games help keep young kids on their “A” game as they reinforce a lot of skills that they’ve been learning. Things like counting, recognizing patterns and memory skills are all things that board games can help kids with. Plus, when you play games with your kids, you are strengthening the bond you have with them as you create more meaningful memories with them….and everyone usually has fun when playing games!

3. Write Thank-You Notes – I know this one may not be that fun for kids, but I believe that it’s essential for a couple of reasons. First, kids need to understand that people don’t have to buy them gifts and they need to be grateful for the gifts they do receive. Writing thank-you notes helps kids express their gratitude and is also a sign of respect towards those who purchased gifts for them. Secondly, writing thank-you notes helps improve young kids’ writing skills as it’s repetitive practice.

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