Don’t Let the Holidays Hijack Your Child!

Keeping kids on track all the way to winter break

Happy Holidays!  The calendar has finally caught up with the TV commercials.  So what does that look like for kids still in school for one more month and families still dealing with homework?

Younger children get increasingly excited.  Teens get busy with social events.  Class routines get disrupted with art projects, assemblies, and special program rehearsals.

All good stuff!  Except when it comes to homework!  For the next month, it will be harder for kids to settle down to do homework and harder to find time to fit it in.


Here are few keys to keeping kids on track all the way until winter break

  1. Keep your homework routine
  2. Acknowledge then move ahead
  3. Make it fun

Keep the Homework Routine

If your homework routine has begun to fall by the wayside, re-establish it and make it non-negotiable.  Students fight things less when they are “set in stone.”  Have a set time and place for doing homework.  Even if you can’t have the same time every day due to activities, create a schedule for the week that everyone can see and must adhere to.  

Acknowledge; Then Move Ahead

Kids will naturally be more distracted and excited at this time of year.  We can’t make them not feel this way and really wouldn’t want to, so it’s important to acknowledge where they are and then move forward to what they need to do.  Here’s how this might look:

For a younger student:

“You’re super excited aren’t you?  This is a fun time of year.  Right now, it’s homework time.  How about if I help you get started?

For an older student:

You’re anxious to talk to Sara about the party Saturday night, aren’t you?  It sounds like it’s going to be really fun!  Right now, it’s the time we’ve agreed on to do homework.  Why don’t you put a reminder in your phone to call Sara as soon as you’re done?

Make it Fun

Take advantage of the season.  

For example, if you are studying times tables, spelling words, or vocabulary with your child, you might put them on index cards and then separate them into Santa’s naughty and nice piles.  Be a little silly.  Put the cards the student knows in the “nice” pile!  “Yea!  That one gets a present this year!”  “Awesome!  This one goes in the nice pile!”

The ones the student doesn’t know go in the “naughty” pile.  “Boo, he was bad this year!”  “No presents for him!”   This takes the emphasis off of the student not knowing certain facts or words and puts the blame, in a fun way, on the fact/word itself.  Be sure to go back and practice the cards in the “naughty” pile to try to move them to the other pile.

Other examples:

“How about if you test out what I’ve been baking after you finish this assignment?”

Play Christmas/holiday music in the background.

Read a Christmas/holiday story for the nightly reading.

Be creative, have fun, acknowledge and enjoy the excitement, and keep your routine!


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We serve children and adults with diagnosed or undiagnosed learning and attention challenges including learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, auditory processing disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.


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Author:  At Wit’s End A Parent’s Guide to Ending the Struggle Tears, and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities

Founder and Executive Director – Stowell Learning Centers

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