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Helping Your Child Stay Sharp During Winter Break

by Jonathan D. Carroll, M.A., Carroll Educational Group, Inc.
Winter Break is an exciting time of the year. Students are away from school and also normal during this time of the year.

However, just because students are not in school does not mean learning should stop. In fact, the standard two weeks of this time can be used to help struggling students improve or good students to build on strengths.

I suggest that parents do the following three things when it comes to Winter Break...

  1. Contact the school and teachers…See if any major projects, papers, tests/quizzes or other items are due at the end of break. If this is the case, make sure you build in time for your child to address these items. Also see if any work is missing and can be made up during this time. Plan ahead, so your child will not scramble at the end of break to get the work completed.
  2. Review and skill building…Identify areas of need in your child’s education or have your child review key concepts, terms, or other information. This can be a low-stress time of learning for a child, so the less pressure a child might have, the easier learning would be during this time. Create easy and portable study tools like note cards or study packets.
  3. Read for fun…Students are required to read certain novels and other materials during school. However, the opportunity for leisure reading is difficult during the school year. Allow your child to read items for fun. Create reward systems for your child. For example, if your child wants to see the new Harry Potter movie, make it a reward for reading the book. Chart how much your child reads and allow him or her to see the results of reading for fun.

Winter break is also a great time to address skills like time management, study strategies, and organization. Encourage your child to try new study strategies. Since there is no immediate academic need, it is a wonderful time for your child to self-evaluate different strategies and techniques.

If children’s minds are not active over break, it will be even more difficult to get back into a routine. By having your child stay active over the Winter Break, you are utilizing valuable learning time. Remember, it is also important to allow your child to relax, but also keep in mind that only an hour or two a day can really make the difference. Jonathan D. Carroll, M.A. is the director of The Carroll Education Group, Inc. in the Chicago area. He can be reached at: (847) 769-5569 or

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


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