By Kathy Kuhl You probably have plenty of holiday joys and duties to keep you busy, so today I’ll focus on what to do over the little break from homeschooling that this time of year gives most of us. These tips can make it easier to enjoy the holidays.
- Take a break: don’t homeschool every day. It’s good to take two weeks off every year. Maybe next week should be one of them.
- Do read to your children every day, however. Enjoy books together.
- If you child needs daily therapy to maintain skills, can you shorten that time? Can you add new tiny prizes or treats to make it special?
- Encourage your children to keep writing.
- A first grade teacher I know assigned a holiday journal. Kids drew a picture for each day and wrote one sentence. When my daughter did this, the result was surprising. We each caught the flu that year, one after another—not the joyful memories we expected! Each page showed another family member in bed. Still, we survived, and it was both nicely drawn and funny. So I bound it in cloth over cardboard to make a “hardcover” book. And it made other holidays look better.
- Use special stationery: I let my kids choose their own special stationery from an inexpensive catalog. They used it for thank you notes. A friend prints her daughter’s drawings on the front of cards, which her daughter then uses. This can make writing more enjoyable.
- Making kids write even the most formulaic thank you notes starts a good habit. According to the Washington Post, it’s a seriously neglected pattern. “How to write thank you notes” was the topic of a video in their “How to Adult” series recently.
- Resist the urge to watch too much television and video. Go to the park. Go on a nature hike. Stay active!
- Provide absolutely delicious fruit and veggies to give appealing alternatives to all the carbohydrates and refined sugar goodies. Don’t leave sweets in sight. Some people can live with a bowl of candy in sight. I am not of that tribe, and your kids probably aren’t, either. Why waste willpower on something easily removed from view?
- Remember that if your child has spent time focused on fast-moving screens, they need to move and bounce their wiggles out, to let their highly-stimulated attention and their too-still bodies synchronize. (More on this in an upcoming blog, and in the link below.)
- Above all, relax and laugh together!
- More Joyful Holidays
- “How to say thank you” in the How to Adult video series from the Washington Post. The few I’ve watched of this series strike me as useful, but sometimes a sad commentary on what young adults arriving in our capital still need to learn.
- Amy and Evelyn Guttman, “What Screen Time and Screen Media Do To Your Child’s Brain and Sensory Processing Ability” in Hands On OT.