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Tips for Helping Students Rejuvenate Over Holiday Break

By Dr. Raymond Huntington

Parents, you made it. There’s no question: the year 2020 is one for the record books and has brought many ups and downs. School has been challenging in new ways for children. So, this upcoming reprieve from the classroom, whether in person or virtual, is welcome—perhaps this year more than ever. 

Here are several tips on how to help your child use these next few weeks to rest up and recharge the batteries: 

  1. Enjoy some family time. However you are celebrating your holiday, this time off from school (and work) is a great chance for you to spend time together as a family. Watch movies, play games, go sledding and go on walks. Set aside the stresses of school and the worries of the world for a little while and get back to focusing on what matters most: your family. 
  1. Have your child join in on meal prep. One wonderful way you and your child can spend time together these next couple of weeks is cooking! Cooking offers many learning opportunities: measuring and doing math, following directions, multitasking and paying attention to detail. Have your child research and choose a few recipes and take the lead on cooking for dinner. Find some online cooking tutorials that you can enjoy together. Stock up on some basic ingredients and encourage your child to experiment. 
  1. If your child enjoys reading but struggles to find time for pleasure reading during the school year, holiday break is an excellent time to binge a book or two. Read something together—perhaps a book that is also a movie—and plan a movie night before your child goes back to school. Reading is one of the best and easiest ways to help your child retain knowledge when school is not in session. It’s a perfect way to cure boredom and fun way to keep your child’s brain working. 
  1. Exercise is good for children in many ways, including improving their emotional well-being. If the semester was stressful and overly challenging as your child acclimated to remote or hybrid learning, he or she is in need of some calming activities— and exercise definitely fits the bill. Take daily walks. Find a YouTube channel with short workouts and take up a daily habit together. Get your child moving, which will release those endorphins into the body and help your child improve the mood, sleep better and boost his or her brain and body health. 

As you wind down the year, talk with your child about both the good and the bad that 2020 brought forth. Ask your child how you can support him or her in 2021 and what goals he or she wants to put in place to make it the best year possible. None of us knows exactly what the future will hold, but this break is a time to have open conversations about being optimistic and focusing on what we can control, not what we cannot. Help your child relax and enjoy—and make the most of this time off school.