by Gwen Marshall,
UniteNews Contributing Writer
Winter break is upon us bringing holidays and celebrations galore— like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa— which adds color and fun into an otherwise dull, cold time of year. These different merriments are a time of laughter, joy and family fulfillment that can induce a kind of joyful haze that can be quite challenging to come back from. When these festivities come to an end and reality comes crashing back, kids often struggle with the transition back to structure, routine, and rules. For many, the return to school in January invokes the same kind of struggles as back-to-school season in August. So, the need for preparation at home with parents and families to help their students get back into the swing of things, without feeling overwhelmed, is imperative, and begs the question, “How?”
Follow these tips by Fiona Tapp former teacher and school administrator for 13 years as we begin a new calendar year:
- Return to Bedtime Routines: Make sure they transition to their regular bedtime before school starts. Because regular sleep patterns are essential to your child’s ability to learn and their behavior.
- Create a Back-to-School Countdown: Ease the transition back to class, especially for younger kids, by creating a visual countdown for the end of winter break.
- Discuss the Year Ahead: Such as the coursework your child will do each day. Talking through any worries or concerns can help them feel more confident. Older kids and teens might want to set some academic New Year’s resolutions they can work toward.
- Celebrate Their First Week Back: Returning to school after a fun-filled winter break can feel a little disappointing. Help soften the blow by organizing something special to celebrate the completion of their first week back.
- Stock Up on School Supplies: Start the new year ready for new challenges by ensuring your child has all the resources they need.
- Make Your Mornings Easier: School mornings can be hectic, especially if kids have gotten used to moving at a slower pace during the holidays. Make the before-school hours run smoothly by prepping a few things in advance.
A student’s feelings can range from excitement to dread and everything in between. Be sure to validate their feelings, it’s normal for kids to have mixed emotions about going back to school. Though they might be eager to see their friends and their teachers they might also feel anxious and apprehensive about the situation. Both reactions are normal and valid. Encourage kids to voice their feelings and listen with patience. When children feel heard, they’re more likely to share their feelings and worries. Act as a safe space, and let your kindness help them find the courage needed to face all of life’s challenges. Let them know this is a time for a new beginning as they enter a new year. Happy Holidays to all.