It can certainly be a challenge keeping kids engaged in learning while on break for the winter holidays. This is especially true of middle school students who are generally very involved with their circle of friends and very reliant on technology to keep them in the loop. Here are some suggestions on how you can keep your middle school son or daughter keeping their brains active during the holiday break.
Keep the Same Rules in Effect Regarding Technology Over the Vacation. If you regularly insist upon an equal amount of time between reading and studying and spending time surfing the web and watching television, keep those same rules intact during the break. A little bit of extra time for socializing and relaxing is certainly appropriate for the vacation, but keeping as close to the regular routine as possible is very beneficial. Middle school children have a rather impressive workload, so completely disengaging from their studies makes it far more difficult to keep up their grade point averages and get back in the swing of things when school goes back into session. Spending time with a good book instead of passively staring at the television is just as important during vacation as it is any other time of the year. Insist that your child spends an ample time reading a book of their choosing every day of the school break.
Spend Time Outside Together. Not only does going on nature walks or spending a bit of time in the winter weather together offers an opportunity for some great bonding time, it also provides a great number of learning opportunities for your middle school child. Encourage your child to appreciate the changes in the environment during the season and take note of what wildlife is present during this time of year. Initiate a conversation about how the weather affects your little piece of the world and what elements of the season they like and what they don’t. This time together will provoke some very thoughtful conversation that will keep your child’s brain pondering the many wonders of nature.
Flip the Channel. While a certain amount of mindless television is certainly acceptable to help your middle school son or daughter unwind and relax during the break, feel free to encourage a certain amount of educational television as well. Seek out informative and interesting programs that deal with Nature, History and Science. Watch the shows together and discuss the content as a family. You are not only encouraging the importance of learning something new every day, you may also be exposing your child to a brand new passion or field of interest.
Schedule an Informative Outing and Bring a Group of Friends. A trip to a museum or historical place of interest may be met with a greater amount of enthusiasm if you invite your child’s friends to come along. Middle school boys and girls love to socialize and stay connected with their peer group over breaks from school. Allowing your son or daughter to invite a few friends to come along on the educational outing may be just the angle you need to make the trip a very enjoyable and influential one.