How to Prevent the Winter Slide
By Frank Milner
As students get set to embark on their coveted winter break plans, parents should be prepping on how to combat the dreaded “winter slide” that can impact their very own kids. Days and even weeks out, students can begin to “coast” and quickly lose momentum in school.
Despite the fact that it’s not as long as the three-month break that kids typically refer to as the “summer slide,” the two to four weeks that students go without any educational activity can truly be detrimental to their long-term academic success, including core subjects such as math and science.
Parents have several opportunities to keep their children’s minds engaged and active, ready for the next semester or quarter. Here are some simple tips and best practices:
- Have Them Help Plan a Long Drive or Vacation. Many families will embark on a vacation over the break, or drive far distances to visit relatives. If this is the case, make sure to include your child in the planning process. For example, have them figure out mileage between points A and B and the stops in between. Also prior to the trip, have them read up on your destination and put together a report of what to expect. It should include what the destination is best known for, wildlife that can be found there and a brief history of the area. Getting your child immersed in the culture and geography of your destination will help develop and strengthen their research skills and make them more aware of the world around them.
- Involve Them in Meal Planning and Cooking. The kitchen is a great way for parents to reinforce the importance of following directions and managing time. For those opting to stay at home during the break, make it a point to involve your children in meal planning and cooking. These are crucial developmental skills and key elements to help improve your child’s organizational skills.
- Work On a Project Together. The holidays are a great time to sit down with your child and work on a project together. Have them read aloud the instructions for assembling new equipment while you put it together. Or, if you are wanting to build something that requires cutting, have your child do the measuring before you start sawing or drilling. The skills your child will take away from this exercise is the importance of following steps and directions. It will also give them a good example of how you should work with others to achieve things that may be difficult for one person to perform.
- Encourage Them to Be the Family’s News Reporter. Visit local zoos, botanical gardens or any place in your community where kids can see and learn about new things. If traveling, encourage them to bring a journal and record observations with drawings or brief written descriptions. Having your children share with you the highlights of their day will help with memory recollection and store noteworthy events.
It is perfectly alright to let your children enjoy holiday festivities. But, it is equally important to make sure they also spend time improving their brain function and keeping the information they spent months learning fresh in their heads as they head into the second half of the year. Relaxing is always a good thing, but too much can be detrimental and cause your kids and students to succumb to the dreaded “winter slide.”
Frank Milner is the president of Tutor Doctor, the top in-home tutoring franchise that offers students a personalized, one-to-one, in-home tutoring service to all ages. Milner has been at the helm of Tutor Doctor since 2007, after recognizing the company’s ability to help children across the world with its unique alternatives to the “one-to-many” teaching model that most extra-curricular learning centers offer. Milner’s daughter once struggled with what he calls “math meltdowns,” and understands that privacy and one-to-one learning allow for unlimited growth potential in a student. Milner is a firm believer that academic success can be achieve through two components – academic foundation buildings and academic discipline – and he carries that mindset into new cities and countries around the globe.