‘Tis the season when families come together to enjoy an extended break from the usual school routine. While this respite provides a welcome pause from the hectic pace of the school year, our goal is to ensure that students’ skills remain sharp and that their minds are active!
Balancing rest and relaxation is crucial for teenagers during the long winter break. When school is out of session, teens are tempted to slip into a routine of sleeping all day and being glued to their phones at night. Let’s explore ways to engage their minds and keep their bodies active, promoting not only their well-being but also facilitating a smoother transition when the school year continues after the holidays.
Mental Workouts on Break
Let’s first discuss strategies for teens to keep their mental skills in tip-top shape in ways they don’t normally have time for during the school day.
Read for Pleasure: Encourage teens to read books of their choice. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or graphic novels, reading can be both enjoyable and intellectually stimulating. Letting them choose offers a break from the demands of school assignments.
Learn a New Skill: Use the break to pick up a new skill or hobby. This could be anything from playing a musical instrument (dust off the guitar or keyboards sitting around), learning a new language (many apps offer a free trial), or experimenting with coding (read about coding on this blog post).
College or Career Planning: Use the break to research colleges, scholarships, or career options. This can help teens make informed decisions about their future.
Now let’s get them moving!
I’m not saying they need to run a marathon, but encourage them to get dressed and get out of the house. Here are some ways to get them out and about during the winter break.
Volunteer or Community Service: Get involved in community service or volunteer work. This not only benefits others but also provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Physical Activity: Engage in physical activities to stay active and healthy. Whether it’s going to the gym, participating in sports, or taking up activities like hiking or yoga, physical exercise is important.
Travel or Explore Local Attractions: If possible, plan a short trip or explore local attractions. This can be an opportunity to learn about different cultures or historical sites.
More ideas for teens!
These are not the only ways to keep a teen engaged over winter break. If you are looking for other ways to engage them throughout the break, try these:
Creative Expression: Explore creative outlets such as writing, drawing, painting, or photography. Expressing oneself creatively can be therapeutic and fulfilling. This can be done at home, or at a class in your community.
Quality Time with Family and Friends: Spend time with family and friends. This could involve game nights, movie marathons, or simply enjoying each other’s company. Let them choose the snacks and have them help set it up- that way they have some say in the choices and feel more like participating in the activity.
Reflection and Goal Setting: Encourage teens to reflect on their achievements and experiences so far. Help them set realistic goals for the upcoming months or years.
Mindfulness and Relaxation: Teach and practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Managing stress and promoting mental well-being is crucial for overall health.
Remember, the break should be a balance between relaxation and productivity, allowing teens to recharge while also engaging in activities that contribute to their personal growth and development. However your family chooses to use this time at home, we wish you a very relaxing and productive break!
Have plans already? We would love for you to share what you and your teens plan to do over the break in the comments below!
Tiffany Verhoosel is currently a Computer Science teacher in the Baltimore City School District. Coming from a background of business she joined the Baltimore City Teaching Residency over ten years ago to make the career change into education and has never looked back. Her degree from Johns Hopkins, a Master of Science in Digital Age Learning and Educational Technology, helped propel her from Special Educator to her current teaching position where she teaches Kindergarten to eighth grade students how to code.