With the Christmas school holiday only a few weeks away, it’s no surprise kids find it exceedingly hard to focus in these last few weeks leading up to the big day. While many schools can accommodate the excitement of younger children, some older school children still have their mock exams to sit through before they can look forward to the school term coming to an end.
If your child has been more excitable recently, especially after seeing shopping centres and high streets putting up and turning on your Christmas lights, here are some great tips to help keep them focused before the school term finishes for the winter season.
Keep to Their Schedule
With the holidays on the horizon, it gets tempted to allow your children to stay up a bit later before the end of term, however, children need more sleep than adults, especially during the growth and development stages and reducing the amount of sleep your kids are getting can cause issues with attention and lead to bad moods. While the odd night at the weekend shouldn’t cause too much disruption, keep in mind that the negative effects of not getting enough sleep can carry on for days and make your child feel uncomfortable and quick to frustrate.
The recommended hours of sleep your child should be getting depend on their age bracket, toddlers between 1-2 years should get between 11-14 hours a day, preschoolers between 3-5 years are recommended 10-13 hours, school-aged children up to 13 years should be getting at least 9 hours which drops down to 8 recommended hours for teenagers between 14-17 years of age. Check out the NHS guide for more specific recommended sleep times relating to your child’s age.
Take Them Outside
One of the biggest reason’s children seem unfocused during the festive season is due to the colder, wetter weather, kids tend to remain cooped up inside, rather than being allowed out to expel some of their young energy. Try to get outside and down the local park or to somewhere the kids can run about safely and keep their minds engaged, take a towel to dry off swings and slides if they’ve got damp in the morning frost and have some blankets and hot chocolate back home to warm up with after a walk in the fresh air.
Going to an adventure playground is an excellent way to help your kids burn off energy while keeping their minds active and engaged, with playground equipment shaped to look like castles or ships, your young kids can have plenty of fun running around and imagining themselves in a whole new world of their creation.
Spread Tasks Out
While the term may be winding down, your child is still likely to be sent homework home with them to complete, either in time for the Christmas end of term or to continue over the festive break. With attention spans fleeting with so much festive excitement to see and take part in, it’s recommended that homework tasks or at-home-learning are broken down into smaller tasks to complete over a longer duration of time. This helps prevent your child from becoming frustrated with their workload and allow them more time to enjoy themselves during the festive season.
Keep Things Age-Appropriate
Every child is different and while human habits can be distributed under different headers, you will know your child the best in regard to their attention span and patience. If your child is of younger, school age, with no impending exams, you can let them have some more freedom and use Christmas traditions and stories as teaching opportunities. For older children, pre-teens and teenagers that might be sitting mock exams, talk to them about what will help them focus, whether they need a dedicated quiet space for revising or if they would prefer to break up their study sessions into more manageable chunks.
The Christmas countdown has begun! Although Christmas can be overwhelmingly exciting during childhood, it’s important that your kids remain focused, especially if they or their siblings are sitting exams. By supporting your kids through the festive season, you can ensure your child doesn’t face any shocks or feel exhausted and distracted once they return to school in the New Year.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.