The end of the fall semester can be especially stressful for students, regardless of age. If you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ve noticed how the changing weather coupled with earlier sunsets and challenging exams can wear your child out by the time the holidays roll around. And of course, all the stress of travelling and socializing over the holidays can burn out your child even more! To help you help your student get the most out of their winter break, we’ve compiled a list of 10 easy ways to make sure your student gets to decompress before returning to classes.
1. Let them sleep in, but maintain a regular schedule if possible
Both children and teens should ideally be getting 8-10 hours of sleep per night, but that doesn’t always happen when school is in session. Break is a great time to catch up on sleep, but it is important to keep some regularity in the student’s sleep schedule so that going back to school isn’t going to shock them.
2. Let them have some alone time
The holidays are full of parties and social events where many children and teens can get easily overwhelmed, especially if they are introverted by nature. Give your student some control over how much socializing they do by letting them take breaks from gatherings to recharge in a private place, like a bedroom or office room.
3. Involve them in cooking
Cooking with family is a great way to boost the confidence of your child or teen. Depending on their experience level, assign them a task in the kitchen that they complete easily. For teens, learning how to cook a side dish is a great confidence building task, because they will bond with the other people in the kitchen in addition to receiving lots of encouraging compliments from guests about how good their food tastes. For children, simpler tasks like helping set the table or measure ingredients can provide a similar bonding experience and confidence boost.
4. Encourage them to do something creative
Many of the tasks and assignments in school have very clear-cut directions, so students do not have many opportunities to be especially creative during the semester. Starting some sort of creative project over break can help a student relax and exercise effective problem solving skills. Coloring, crafting, practicing an instrument, or making a vlog are all great options for creative, short-term projects!
5. Help them clean and re-organize their room
Maintaining a clean living space is always a good way to reduce stress, no matter your age. Help your student clean up their room by having them create three piles: one for trash, one for recycling or donation, and one for items to keep. Then, encourage them to pick a section of their room, like a desk or dresser, and work on sorting just that area into the piles. If they are struggling with motivation for cleaning, the pomodoro method is a great way to keep them going: spend 20 minutes working without distractions, then take a 10 minute break, using a timer to keep track. With a little bit of music to help keep their energy up, your student will have a clean room in no time!
6. Have a family game or movie night
Spending quality, uninterrupted time with loved ones is key to maintaining family bonds and can help boost your child’s confidence. Choosing engaging activities, like completing puzzles, playing board games, or having a smartphone-free movie night are fantastic ways to give your student some high-quality downtime so they can decompress.
7. Kill cabin fever with exercise
Children and teens can get antsy in the wintertime because they spend so much time indoors. If the weather cooperates, encourage your student to do some outdoor activities, like walking the dog or playing some sports. If the weather is less than ideal, make sure your student gets exercise some other way; this could be as simple as dancing or as complex as following a quick workout routine.
8. Encourage them to spend some time with friends
Without homework to take up their time, school-age kids have a lot more free hours during winter break. In addition to bonding with family, students should take this time to have fun and strengthen bonds with their friends. Besides helping your student relax over break, these friends will be there to support them when they get stressed in the coming semester.
9. Encourage reading for fun!
Reading for pleasure will help keep your student’s brain active during break. Check out goodreads.com for book ideas based on the genres your child or teen likes best, then head to the library to find them!
10. Meaningfully reflect with them on the last semester
To help your child prepare for the coming semester, have a meaningful discussion with them about what they thought went well and what could have gone better during the previous semester. Make sure to ask them about what stressed them out the most, and think of some strategies they can implement to have a less stressful second half of the school year. If your student is experiencing stress from particular classes or subjects, academic coaching may be the solution. Leading Learners focuses on reducing the stress that students feel from homework and classes by pairing them with personal academic coach who can mentor them and teach them time-management, organization skills, and memorization tactics in addition to helping with assignments. If you think that coaching from Leading Learners may be able to help your child or teen, give us a call at (970) 226-8704. We would be happy to provide you with pricing and availability information so you can give your student the gift of a better academic experience!