Keeping It Real

Holly McElwee

December 19, 2013

Christmas break is right around the corner! Visions of sugarplums dance in kids’ heads along with plenty of playtime, movie watching, and video game playing. The return to school will arrive soon enough, though, so here are a few things parents can do to keep kids in their school time groove.

1. Keep a regular bedtime. Late bedtimes and sleeping in are great during the break, but this type of routine doesn’t equal success for returning to school. Pick a bedtime and stick with it no matter how much the kids want to stay up all night. Not only does this ensure your kids get an adequate amount of sleep, it gives mom and dad some quiet time in the evenings.

2. Eat dinner as a family. This may not seem connected to the idea of routines, but it’s just one more process that helps set a schedule. Kids who participate in regular evening mealtimes learn how to hold a conversation with adults and how to use table manners. All of these skills are beneficial for the future.

3. Keep up with chores. Chores are part of life. Parents don’t get a break from chores, so keep them part of the kids’ routine, too. Remind the kids that once chores are done, it’s back to the fun activities they’d rather be doing. This usually motivates and keeps kids on task. 4. Limit screen time. Kids surely want to spend time with their screens over the break, but continue to set limits. Only allow screen time, such as TV, video games, or computers, after all chores are completed. Even then, keep it short and monitor the content for age appropriateness. 5. Encourage exercise. One hour of exercise is recommended every day for kids. Be sure to get kids outside and moving each day, especially if they’ve been spending extra time with screens. If the weather’s bad, go to the YMCA or search out another open gym situation.

6. Get out of the house. Instead of lounging around the house for the entire break, make time to go on outings. This is the perfect time to take in a museum, sporting event, or movie. If the weather is decent, go on a hike at one of our excellent local parks. Visit the library and grab a good book for some Christmas break reading. This isn’t time to read the required stuff…let kids pick out whatever books they want and indulge their imaginations. Put kids in charge of planning a day’s activities and see what they can organize for the family.

Christmas break is a fun break from school, but keep those good routines to help the entire family stay in a schedule and ready to transition back to school in January. Read more at www.travelingteacheronline.com .