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Holiday Tips

It is important for parents to allow students a chance to breathe, to relax, to unwind over the holidays. We are entering that time of year where tests, final exams and report cards loom large and many students are beginning to accumulate a certain level of anxiety. Therefore, make sure that your student has fun over the holidays!!!

Having fun means activity. Lying in front of the TV or staying at the video game or computer terminal for days at a time does not qualify! Make sure that life is balanced. Go for family walks to look at the holiday lights. Go skating. Sing carols in your neighbourhood. Play in the snow. Ski. Toboggan. In other words, get active!

The very worst thing we can do is to allow our kids to just drop down on a couch and veg for two weeks. By December, our children should be in full mental gear. They will have recovered from the summer holidays and will be alert and mentally active. The holiday should give them a breather but not cause them to become mentally passive again. You can prevent this by planning fun activities. The issue is to keep our students mentally active and focused. We can do this in a number of ways.

High School Students:

Exams are looming. High school students should plan 2 hours of study per day over the holiday. Each subject should be analyzed and divided into units. Let us assume that the Math exam is scheduled for January 20. That means that there are approximately 30 days (or units) left before the exam. Divide math into 30 units and study one each day. Make sure students use a Day Planner so that they can do a little every day. When they get back to school, they must keep their current work up to date.

Grade 1-3:

Read, Write, Play! Read and play games that require concentration and memory. Make a family journal for the holiday and write in it every day. Talk about stories, books and TV shows. Don’t just let them be passively absorbed. Discuss what happened. Why? What else might have happened?

Grade 4-6:

Work on planning. It is often hard for kids to master the Day Planner while they are at school. Use it every day to plan family activities such as feeding the cat, walking the dog, putting up the Christmas tree, buying a present for Aunt Millie, going skating and so on. Make it part of your life and make it fun! Writing is often a problem for this age group. The family journal is often a hit here too. Write in it every day. Describe the holiday fun and activity. Encourage reading by purchasing magazines. Choose specific activity magazines that match the interests of your child – skiing, history, cats, and so on. No pressure but lots of attention and encouragement.

Grade 7-8:

If exams or tests are planned for January, then use the same strategy as High School. Again, focus on Day Planners. Make sure that they are written in every day. Use them to prioritize activities and plan events. Plan TV viewing. Try to get as many history and nature specials as you can then discuss them – go to the library or on the internet to do more research on these subjects. If you just watch these programs and then do something else, your kids will see that remaining passive is OK – don’t! Work with the material.

Play strategy board games – chess, Clue, Risk and so on. Games that are competitive and yet require thinking are the best.

Don’t forget to plan activities and have fun!

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