A Real Break on School Break
written by Nicole Filiberti MSW, LCSW
Navigating days off of school due to holidays or breaks can be a difficult ask for families. Children and teens can have a hard time with these changes in their routines. When adding on the continuing COVID pandemic, families may feel limited in their options in terms of activities and outings that are possible, especially during the colder months. Here are some ideas for dealing with these days.
Preparation is key
It can be especially important to prepare kids for the upcoming change in the schedule. The use of visuals can be very helpful in this situation and you can label the upcoming holidays in the calendar for them to see. Providing that knowledge ahead of time can potentially save students from the difficulty they may have dealing with unexpected change. Of course, there are also some kids who will jump for joy at the news of a day off of school so it really depends on the child!
Make a non-screen time activity a priority
With hybrid and fully remote learning models, children and teens have really experienced an increase in the amount of time they spend on a screen. It can be helpful to set aside some time on a day off to prioritize a non-screen related activity. If the weather permits, outside time is always a nice idea. If your family is more interested in an indoor activity, try to think of creative outlets for children to tap into. Making up a dance, a play, or creating a fun craft project can be a great way to enjoy the time off.
Treat it like a mental health day
Just like adults, children can also benefit from some self care and relaxation. Have a conversation with your child about the upcoming day off and ask them what they would enjoy doing to relax and unwind. It is beneficial for children to have the idea of self care normalized. Children have been navigating a ton of changes and challenges due to the ongoing pandemic and they deserve some time to relax just as much as adults do.
There are multiple options to try and make the best of these days off. Assessing the needs of your family as well as considering what is feasible is an important piece of this process. With some planning and preparation, school breaks and holidays do not have to be something to fear.