Balancing Fun and Study During Winter Break by Jessica Bush

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

Balancing Fun and Study During Winter Break by Jessica Bush, Bergen County Moms

‘Tis the season for students to take a well-deserved break from school. Here’s how to make sure they maximize their downtime and are ready to hit the ground running when the holidays are behind us!

We could all use a breather this time of year. For students of all ages, the year-end break offers a chance to relax, decompress, and enjoy time with friends and family. Do you know that some teachers give assignments over the holidays? Our kids need help knowing how to balance study time and fun time so they aren’t scrambling at the last minute to get their work done before January 3rd.

It’s also a good time to check in with your student and have a conversation about any challenges they might be having – scholastically or socially – and discuss the importance of getting them the help and support they need.

Make a schedule.

The most common challenge for students during the holiday break is procrastination. Regardless of how much or how little work your student has been assigned, it’s a good idea to help them make a schedule. If they have required reading to complete, splitting it up into different days will help them avoid getting bogged down. If they need to write an essay or complete a big project, they should plan out what days and times they will be working on it. Waiting until the last few days of vacation to address a backlog of assignments is no fun! Taking an organized approach can eliminate stress and anxiety and allow them to enjoy their time off. Blocking out time for our students and planning in advance actually allows for MORE fun time!

Make it a family affair.

Teachers often assign larger projects over the holidays because they know students will have several weeks to work on them. Big projects like poster presentations, dioramas, and scale models are usually more time-intensive than typical assignments – and they can be a lot more fun if you encourage your student to get the whole family involved. Brainstorming creative ideas or providing hands-on support is a great way to spend quality time together!

Balancing Fun and Study During Winter Break by Jessica Bush, Bergen County Moms

Get ready to return.

Many students start new classes or a new semester when they return from break. Use the down-time to tackle any preparatory assignments or to pick up new classroom supplies like binders or notebooks. There may be some great holiday deals to cash in on by shopping now.

Assess and address.

Whether it’s the end of a marking period or a semester, now is an ideal time to talk with your student about how things are going and assess where they are having challenges. Many students will have state assessments in the coming months. Addressing issues now will give you the opportunity to mitigate future problems by making adjustments and getting them the support they need – whether it’s to bring up a grade in a particular class or it’s to mitigate struggling in a broader sense. Don’t wait to see if your student can turn things around on their own, even if they are convinced that they can. Reach out to teachers, guidance counselors or school administrators, or encourage your older student to set up a meeting with their teacher or guidance counselor to create a game plan. Schools have a variety of tools they can activate to help students tackle educational and social issues. If your student is doing well overall but having a tough time with a specific subject, private tutoring can give them the support they need and help them get back on track and increase their confidence during the process.

Frame setbacks in a positive light.

In addition to school-related issues, the holidays can be a stressful and challenging time for many families, especially those who are struggling financially or emotionally. The recent spike in COVID cases is also concerning, and may have a not-so-merry impact on holiday celebrations. It is essential that parents learn to frame challenges and setbacks in a positive light. Whether your child is down in the dumps about a bad report card or your teen feels left out of activities they see friends posting about on social media, communicating with them in a way that focuses on the upside will help foster a growth mindset. Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to remind children that mistakes can be a good thing, it helps them to learn from their mistakes and to build confidence in their own abilities to succeed – even if it means overcoming obstacles along the way.

Don’t forget to have fun!

After all, it is a vacation. Maximize relaxation time with your kids so they can truly enjoy their time off – and head back to school rested and raring to go. For more tips on helping kids thrive during the holidays, I’m sharing our recent conversation with family counselor Debbie Mann of Turn The Page, LLC. Click here to check out our YouTube channel for our No Drama, No Trauma episodes.

All of us here at Tutor Doctor North Jersey wish you and your families a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!


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Meet Jessica Bush

For Jessica, “making learning personal” is not just a slogan – it’s the foundation on which she has built Tutor Doctor North Jersey and Rockland. For the past 10 years, her instinct for uncovering the unique needs and desires of students and their families – and her passion for helping them achieve their dreams – have been the hallmarks of her tutoring practice.

Jessica understands that learning is often about more than just mastering academics. Whether it’s test anxiety, executive function, or school avoidance, her expertise lies in helping families address even the most complex learning challenges holistically. Families can count on her not only to connect the right tutor with the right student, but to build a support team with a shared commitment to seeing each student succeed – in school and in life.

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