With Halloween in the rearview mirror, you may feel like the holidays are racing at you full speed. If you’re a parent, that means you’re staring at the annual two-week winter break from school. It’s a great time of year. Your kids don’t have homework, so there are plenty of opportunities for family time.
Being free from schoolwork also means your student has a two-week gap in learning. That may sound a little scary. Instead of being worried about boredom, seize the chance to teach them a few things yourself. If you use the extra family time to your advantage, they will learn some valuable life lessons. Keep reading for some guidance on five things you can teach your kids outside the classroom.
1. Teach Them to Put the Screens Down
After months of listening to teachers, your kid is likely ready for some chill time. In their mind, that probably means vegging out with a device in their hands. You don’t want them watching countless videos or playing games online all day, though. No worries — you can teach them the value of limited screen time with a safe phone for kids. These devices are free of games and social media, so your kid will be less tempted to stare into the digital world.
Since their faces are out of their phones, use this time to encourage their creativity instead. It’s the holidays, right? Instead of racing around stores for the perfect gift, opt for making homemade presents. It could be a batch of cookies or a handmade bird feeder. Whatever they make, your child can feel good about doing something for a loved one.
2. Cook Together
For many families, food is a big part of the holidays. Big dinners filled with signature dishes are a staple of the celebration season. If you’re planning one of these events, it’s another opportunity for a life lesson. Your child doesn’t have to become a master chef. It’s a great idea to know how to make a couple of things well, though.
So when you’re ready to prepare your dish — or an entire meal — ask your child to be your assistant. Teach them how to read a recipe. Show them how to measure ingredients. If they’re old enough, let them practice some knife skills. You’ll enjoy the time together, and they’ll learn valuable cooking techniques.
3. Take Them Grocery Shopping
This might be tough with younger kids who ask for every new cookie on the shelf. If you have an older child, though, taking them on a grocery run is a teachable moment. Don’t simply run through the store with your list in hand, though. Be sure you have a bit more time to devote to the task — this shopping trip will be more involved.
Walk through the produce section and explain how to pick out fresh, ripe vegetables and fruits. Talk about checking for expiration dates on dairy and raw meat. Show them how to compare prices between products so they get the best value. It’s also a great time to teach them about store-brand items. Point out how much you can save simply by leaving the name-brand products on the shelf.
4. Tackle the Chore List
Sure, the holidays are intended to offer some relaxation time. Yet the days off can also be a prime time to check a few lingering tasks off your to-do list. Maybe it’s cleaning the guest room or fixing the loose door handle. Perhaps it’s a bigger project like repairing the dishwasher.
Just as with the cooking, ask your child to be your right-hand helper. In an age-appropriate way, show them how to use a hammer, screwdriver, or wrench. Teach them the right tools for specific jobs and let them practice. Your child will feel more self-sufficient if they know how to fix a few things around the house. Plus, fixing the dishwasher yourselves can save money you can then spend on your festivities!
5. Explore Global Traditions
It’s the holiday season, and most families have their own traditions. Some may be religious in nature. Some are simply treasured activities that are on the must-do list every year. Keeping those traditions alive is important. But it’s a great idea to teach your child that other cultures have valuable and meaningful traditions, too.
Alongside your celebrations, let your child pick another culture or country to research. There are unique holiday traditions to be found all over the world. Spend some time learning about other cultures’ stories, songs, and holiday foods. If a recipe looks good, give it a try. You may be surprised to find that people across the globe celebrate the holidays in similar ways.
A Relaxed Approach to Learning
The upcoming winter break is certainly a time for everyone in your family to recharge their batteries. Children are no exception. They also need time to relax and kick back. That doesn’t mean their learning has to take a vacation, though. In fact, outside-the-classroom learning can be just as valuable as the classroom kind.
While your kids are out of school, take advantage of the time to impart some of your own wisdom. Life lessons help prepare your child for adulthood. The earlier they learn about cooking or home maintenance, the better off they’ll be. Of course, you don’t need to teach a lesson every day they’re out of class. Keep these options in mind, though, and you’ll send your child back to school with a sharper mind.