Thursday, November 10

HOW TO stay focused on school during the holidays

The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming!  Yes, I know, the stress and activity levels are already ratcheting up in your household as they are in mine.  There are parties and programs, travel and house guests, cooking, baking, buying....  If you think you're the only one affected by the hubbub of the holiday season, think again.  Our kids are also experiencing a dramatic shift away from their daily routines.  Sometimes this can mean a hiccup in their overall academic progress.  Here are a few simple tips to help keep your kids focused on their schoolwork during the holidays:
  • Continue to create a calm, distraction-free zone for studying and homework.  This means turning off the TV (and the Christmas carols) and limiting the number of interruptions during your child's homework time.  You can still keep it festive by providing snacks and warm cocoa while he/she works.
  • Limit the number of activities your children participate in during the school week.  Okay, so this may be a case of easier said than done, but even it your child can't opt out of a mid-week engagement, be sure he/she can be home for a reasonable bedtime.
  • Stick to bedtime routines including nightly reading with your child.  Try to keep up the good work when it comes to bedtime stories.  Reading to your child just 15 minutes a night will boost his/her reading skills and provide much-needed downtime for the two of you to bond over a good book.
  • Balance sugary sweets with healthy, hearty meals including a nutritious breakfast.  There's no reason to ban your children from enjoying holiday goodies, but a steady diet of cookies, cake and candy isn't the best brain food.  Sneak healthy ingredients into kid-friendly foods like pancakes, smoothies and spaghetti and you'll be fueling a healthy mind and body.
  • Over holiday breaks, keep your child's mind sharp with educational activities.  Invite an aunt, uncle or grandparent to take the kids to a local museum for the day. Or, go to the library for an hour or two. Turn holiday baking into a math lesson.  Ask your children the history behind holiday celebrations and have them do some online research.  Encourage your child to keep an illustrated journal of his/her holiday experiences.
  • Keep up your active lifestyle.  With shorter, cooler days, it can be difficult for kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise they need to stay healthy and focus in school.  If a hectic schedule keeps you from heading to the park or taking walks around the block, encourage your kids to jump rope or work out indoors with fun exercise DVDs.
Photo credit: Microsoft Office online photo gallery

Contributed by Danyelle

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