3 Tips to Help Kids Stay Focused Until Winter Break

By Kayla Johnson

More than ever before, teachers and families understand the importance of working together to support our students’ learning. In these last few months, teachers and families have collaborated through unprecedented challenges and achievements to make this school year particularly rewarding for students. Now, we are officially starting the push until students, teachers and families take a much-deserved break for the holidays and new year.

In my eight years of teaching and leading, I have learned that December brings unique distractions for students. Certainly, we love the special excitement of celebration and cheer—but that also means students begin to slide back academically in anticipation of the upcoming holiday break. Here are three tips from the classroom that families might find valuable at home to help kids stay focused between now and the holiday break, so we don’t lose any of this precious learning time:

Focus YOUR excitement on academics  

Our school community likes to say that we will maximize instructional time with our students in December and celebrate them as they grow academically. Our students are craving rigorous and engaging lessons that allow them to show us what they know and magnify their brilliance. The same is true at home. Your child will follow your example. Spend your time together discussing what they’ve done in school that day. Ask them to show you what they’ve made, or ask them to explain something they’ve learned. Let them be a teacher to you so they feel confident and excited to keep their focus on their schoolwork.

Bring learning to holiday activities 

Of course, we can’t—and shouldn’t! —ignore the delights of the holiday season all around us, even while we’re learning. That is why at KIPP Royalty Academy, we have a robust calendar of holiday-themed activities tied to our classroom lessons. For example, we kicked off December by creating ornaments for our class holiday trees and having Kindergarten KIPPsters name the shape of their ornaments. We also had “A World of Celebrations” day where we learned about how different places celebrate the holidays including Germany, Iceland, China, Brazil and the Philippines. Try something similar with your kids by practicing math skills while baking a favorite family cake recipe together or making a sight word game out of going to see holiday lights in your neighborhood.

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