Whilst we can’t pretend that telling your children they have to study over Christmas will make you as popular as Santa, if you go about it in the right way you needn’t become a Scrooge. Many 7+ and 11+ exams are held in the first week of term when students return to school in January. Others may be sitting their GCSE mock exams, which have the potential to set the tone for their final exams. For those sitting these exams, even for those who aren’t, this blog will provide guidance on how to continue work alongside the festive fun.
The Christmas holidays are an exciting time for families all over the world. It is a time of eating (or over-eating), shopping, and most importantly, spending time with those who are important to us. It’s also a great time to fit in a few bits of revision so that your child can enter the New Year with confidence. In this blog post, we’re going to look at a few strategies that can help balance the joy of Christmas and the productivity of meaningful learning.
With the shorter days and frosty mornings, getting through this term has probably felt like an uphill battle, and understandably, the last thing most students want to do is get on with more studying. Especially when Christmas offers so many delightful distractions. Studying or Stollen cake? Revision or roast turkey? Tough choice. Students do not have to choose one over the other. As parents, it is important to remember that in order to get the best out of your child and ensure their happiness and well-being, balance is key.
Planning and positivity go a long way! Involving your child in the planning process is a good idea to manage their expectations and give you both a realistic idea of what can be achieved over the Christmas holidays. For younger children, this can be done in conjunction with a reward system. For example, you can plan a fun advent calendar-style list of tasks they need to complete every day to get closer to receiving a treat.
Planning a work schedule will ensure that the holiday period is structured. Without a plan, it is easy for your child to waste time on generic tasks or even neglect revision altogether. This will surely end in a negative attitude toward studying in general, and we don’t want that.
Whatever strategy you agree upon, be practical and compassionate in your approach. Include older siblings by asking them to assist with marking a practice test or include younger siblings by asking them to make a fun quiz on the content being studied, where possible.
In everything you plan, frame it with positivity and give supportive feedback to your child at every step of the way. This can be difficult while working and running a home at the same time. However, verbal feedback, stickers and other sorts of rewards are an easy way to make your child feel validated.
If you need help, ask!
If all the above sounds like quite a lot to plan, then don’t do it alone. Your child’s school should have given guidance on how to approach this time, providing you with a clear overview of what your child needs to work on. Teachers will have told students what to focus on over Christmas, and you can use this to help your child decide how to allocate their time. If your child’s teacher hasn’t given them this guidance, you can always give them a call, and they will surely be willing to help where possible.
Of course, you need to plan fun activities too: it’s Christmas, after all! Indulging in festive fun over Christmas needn’t be time wasted, either. This time of year is one of rich experiences and results in memories that can last a lifetime. All of that will put work into context for your child and help them approach upcoming challenges with energy and enthusiasm.
So, take your child to Winter Wonderland, go and see Frozen the Musical, visit art galleries, and explore the Christmas markets. Watch the Christmas classics, and over Christmas dinner, tell stories and reflect on the year. For children in their final years of school, be careful not to let academics take over all conversations. The most important thing about this time of year is enjoying time with family and creating long-lasting memories.Best of luck with planning winter work for your child! If you feel like you need any additional support over this time - for example if your child’s school hasn’t given them a good plan - then don’t hesitate to contact us. Likewise, if you feel your child could benefit from sessions with a tutor over Christmas, we can place them with one of our star tutors. In any case: Merry Christmas!