Keeping Your Kids Engaged During the Holidays

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children reading

The holiday season will soon be here and young people are looking forward with anticipation and excitement to family, friends, celebrations and the extended winter break from school. While it is nice for everyone to kick back and take a break, children will, if left to their own devices, completely disengage from school and their educational and learning routine. When this happens young people not only lose some of what they learned in the first half of the school year, they also have a much more difficult and stressful re-adjustment when school starts up again in the new year. Fortunately, there are several ways that parents can help children keep their brains engaged and prevent learning loss while they take a break from school.


Encouraging your child to read and/or reading with or to your child is one of the easiest ways to keep their brains active and engaged. Reading expands vocabulary, enhances imagination, improves concentration and even relieves stress and tension. So set and maintain a regular reading schedule throughout the holiday period.

Get or Stay Active

Research has shown that daily physical activity is not only good for your physical well-being,  but it also increases brain functions such as improved memory, longer attention span, and increased thinking skills. Generally speaking, if it’s good for your heart, it’s good for your brain, so provide opportunities for regular physical activity.

Limit Screen Time

In our increasingly technological society, it is unrealistic to expect that children will not spend time in front of a screen, but unlimited access is both physically and mentally unhealthy. Set a limit on the amount of time available for television and computer use, and be selective when choosing the content. Encourage educational shows or movies and choose apps and video games that encourage critical thinking, strategy, and problem-solving.

Take a Field Trip or Sign Up for a Class

Rather than spend holiday break sitting around the house, take an afternoon or a day and visit local museums, the zoo or aquarium, and local parks and recreational sites. Hiking local trails, touching sea life at the aquarium, or exploring the stars in the universe at the planetarium all provide fun, new, and engaging experiences that facilitate learning. Arts and crafts, cooking, science camps, and recreational classes are also great activities for keeping both the mind and the body engaged, so research what might be available in your area.

The extended winter break from school is a great time for kids to relax and recharge, but it’s also important to keep their minds sharp so that getting back to the school routine is a smoother and less stressful transition

For more information on 4-H youth programs and activities contact Sherry Fischlschweiger via phone, 252-232-2262, or email,