Wednesday, November 27, 2013

5 Ways to Keep Your Child Focused During the Holidays

We all know that it's pretty tempting to lie around the house, munch on leftovers and watch old movies during the entire Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks.  Oh wait...those things are tempting to us adults, but probably not to our children!

For them, there are a ton of age-appropriate (and sometimes not) distractions over the holidays that can negatively impact academic performance when it's time to return to the classroom in January.  Here are 5 things that you can do to counter the distractions and help boost your child's brain power and productivity at the same time:

Make a Plan of Action
1.  Many of IST's students are assigned a winter packet from their teachers.  You can assist your child by helping to create a plan of action to work on the packet each day of the break rather than waiting until the last minute.  The beauty of having time off is that s/he can put in an hour or two of work and then do something fun later to strike a balance between daily work and play.

Keep Reading in the Mix
2.  If your child is not assigned a book (or books) to read during the break, you should create a short reading list together.  Often, it's much more enjoyable for the student if the topic is on something that s/he likes.

Finish Applications Early
3. If your child is applying to private schools or colleges with application deadlines in early January, you should plan to have everything finished before Christmas break, so ideally you're aiming for somewhere between Thanksgiving and the middle of December at the latest. 

Catch Up on Current Events
4.  Help your child understand what's happening in the world around him/her.  There are various media, of course, but we find that reading the newspaper is a great way to catch up and learn new SAT-level vocabulary words in context. 

Get a Jump on Summer Plans
5.  Make a plan now for how to make the most of your child's summer.  Many of the more popular and competitive summer programs and internships open the application process in January.  You can help your child take advantage of these opportunities by researching programs together and making a chart of important dates and application components.