Tips to Help Your Child Manage Stress and Recharge Over Winter Break

By Huntington Learning Center

After a busy fall semester—and for many students, a return to in-person school after a year of remote learning—it’s time for a well-deserved break. This 2021-2022 school year has been a welcome return to normal for students, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t lingering issues related to COVID-19 and the learning loss that remote and hybrid learning might have caused.

Below are tips for parents to help their children de-stress this winter break and build healthy habits for the future:

Get re-organized. The downtime of winter break is a good time for students to go through their backpacks and binders and clear out any papers they don’t need. The filing system at home is important too. Have your student refresh their organizational system and if something wasn’t working, make adjustments.

Discuss good routines. Routines are like organizational habits: the more students embrace them, the less they have to think about what they need to do and when. They become automatic and prevent students from procrastinating during homework time. And for students who struggle with focus, routines simplify their lives and make it easier to put their attention toward what is in front of them every hour of the day.

Take time to talk about study habits. If your child seems reluctant to discuss, don’t push, but if there is an opportunity over break to talk about the fall semester and what went well (and what didn’t), take it. Maybe your student seemed to do best with an after-school homework routine vs. waiting until after dinner. Maybe studying in the morning proved effective (and more so than the evenings) for your high schooler. Your student might be more willing to open up about this if you approach it as a conversation and not a lecture. Offer guidance on how your student can revisit good study techniques when school resumes in January.

Talk about mental health. Too often, students get so entrenched in school that they forget all about taking care of themselves. Especially as students move into middle and high school, it becomes easy to get caught up in the social aspect of school and to blow off important things like eating right, sleeping enough and making time for things like exercise and personal time. During the winter break, make time for fun and remind your child that while school is their job, there are ways they can focus on learning more than the grades and set goals that are meaningful to them. And if something is getting in the way of their happiness and motivation, remind them you are there to help fix it.

Stress management is important all year, but while your child is out of school for a couple of weeks, take advantage and help them take steps to relax and refocus. Then, come January, they will be ready to make the second half of the school year even better than the first.