Talk to Parents About These 2 Things for Winter Break

By Jessica Vician

It’s the last day of school for the calendar year and kids are getting antsy to go home and start their break. The break is a great time for them to relax, recharge, and spend time with family. But sometimes, kids succumb to the same pressures adults do over the holidays, with presents overwhelming their thoughts and holiday stress affecting them.

Talk to their parents in person or via email about curbing these patterns to have a healthy, happy break.

What is Getting Without Giving?
Joan McGarry, Ed.D., a former teacher and principal, has seen how kids focus on the “getting” before Christmas. “They have big dreams of what they’re going to ‘get.’ Many come back disappointed because the family couldn’t give them what they wanted or what their peers might have [received].”

McGarry recommends talking about the act of giving and encouraging families to provide kids with opportunities to give. From making sandwiches and handing them out to the homeless to giving through a church or community group, McGarry says that these small acts of giving help kids learn about and see giving in action, which could help them manage expectations when it comes to receiving gifts.

Model Positive Behavior with Family Relationships and Activities
According to McGarry, many families are overcome with drama and stress during the holiday season. Instead of getting swept up in that drama, parents can proactively focus on having quality family time together.

She recommends that parents do the following to avoid child meltdowns:

  • Model positive behavior and protect children from inappropriate behaviors from other family members.
  • Continue each child’s routine.
  • Provide healthy food choices (don’t just let them eat cookies and have sugar rushes).
  • Share quality family time with songs, stories, movies, baking, visiting new places, etc.

“The experiences of traveling, visiting museums, cities, etc. add to the important experiences that help children connect learning to future lessons as their prior knowledge,” McGarry says.

As your students leave for break, go outside for pick-up and connect with as many parents as possible, or send them a quick email before you leave. Encourage them to focus on giving and new experiences with their children over break. It will help your students get the most out of their time off and help them come back ready to learn.