A teacher’s ideal holiday
Don’t let school holidays sabotage your child’s incidental learning. A teacher gives some thoughts on good holiday habits.
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Here’s what your teacher wishes you would consider doing with your child these holidays, to make the return to school in the new year as smooth as possible for all concerned.
Get out and about

Don’t make couch potatoes of your children by allowing them to watch the Disney or music channel as a treat for the entire holidays as it keeps them quiet and out of mischief. Give them opportunities to go out into the fresh air and have fun. It doesn’t matter if you are not able to go on holiday far away from home, be a tourist in your own city.

Go on outings to interesting places like the zoo, botanical gardens, parks, beaches and museums, suggests experienced Grade 4 teacher, Larney Ross.

‘Make an effort to sit down and talk to your child at the dinner table about their day, what worked for them and what didn’t,’ she says. Engaging with your child is the most important thing you can do. Time spent is a precious gift whereas expensive gifts are soon forgotten. ‘Make family time a priority; instil morals and values in your children.’

Create a collage, scrapbook and/or a journal about your holiday.
Reinforce the basics

Visit the local library, give books as gifts, and incorporate reading into your own holiday routine, recommends Larney.

‘Make basics like maths fun, by cooking and baking together. Get your child to sort, match, count, recognise and measure ingredients. Expand their vocabulary, improve their listening skills and make sure they are able to follow instructions properly.'

Many skills such as reading, thinking, reasoning, strategising and socialising can be practised by playing board games like Scrabble, Monopoly, Ludo, 30 Seconds, Trivial Pursuit or card games with family and friends.
Stay healthy

‘It’s important to keep most aspects of your child’s routine in place,’ says Larney. ‘Basic hygiene like hand-washing and tooth-brushing seems to slip in some cases.’

Keep offering your child healthy food choices for most meals, keeping junk food and sugary snacks for occasional treats. Try to keep bedtime as close to normal as possible and gradually get your child back in routine well in time for the first day of school.

Larney suggests parents use the extra time in the holidays for basic check-ups like eye tests and visits to the dentist. Give your child a haircut according to school policy so that they start the year looking and feeling neat and fresh.
Get organised

‘I wish parents would make it a priority to buy the items on the stationery list and mark them properly,’ says Larney. ‘Don’t think we do nothing in the first week of term – we start from day one!’ Make sure your child has the correct uniform in the right size so they don’t feel uncomfortable and different.

Leaving everything to the last minute sets a bad example for your child, and creates last minute anxiety instead of a calm and happy transition into the new school year.

Which routines do you keep in place in the holidays? Or is it a free for all?

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