Ah, Spring Break! Just the phrase recalls sleeping late, doing nothing, or partying way too much. But now that you’re the parent, you want to make sure your child takes full advantage and utilizes Spring Break in a positive way. If you don’t have any plans at this point, there are plenty of ways to make Spring Break fun while still preserving your sanity… and your child’s well-being.
Brain-Healthy Spring Break Ideas
Whether you’re going on a vacation or opting for a staycation, take advantage of beautiful weather and time together. Here are a few tips to ensure a good time is experienced by kids and grown-ups alike.
- Find a balance between structure and flexibility. I know this sounds like a vague fortune cookie proverb. But work with me here… having structure (“Today, we’re going to…”) while remaining flexible is huge in preventing boredom, which often leads to copious amounts of television, video games and handheld electronic devices.
- Seek their input, within guidelines. Funny thing about kids… they can’t complain about an idea when it’s their own! Offer a few acceptable choices (zoo, science center or art museum) and allow them to select. Or give them parameters such as being outdoors, costing less than $10 per person, or having to be at least ten miles from home. Allow them a limited amount of time for research, then go for it!
- Have a rap session each evening. Take time to discuss the highlights or favorite parts of the day. What would you want to do again? What didn’t live up to expectations? You may find something as simple as this activity draws you closer to your kids, helps them feel valued and connected to you, and creates a habit that lasts beyond Spring Break.
- Try something new. Whether it’s a new restaurant or different ethnicity of cuisine, whether it’s a new activity your family has been too busy to try or a new place to explore, commit to one new thing this Spring Break.
Brain Benefits of Taking a Break
Did you know your child’s brain can actually benefit from a break? Allow them the freedom of creative, outdoor play and interaction with peers, strangers and adults, along with exploring new places. New connections in the brain are formed and learned. Information is solidified. New interests are sparked.
Keeping your child’s brain ready to go back to school doesn’t have to require a lot of homework. For example, reading post signs at a zoo or museum introduces your child to new words and concepts. Telling you the highlights reinforces connections and solidifies memories and learning. It also helps kids process and filter their experience.
Boredom Can Be Good
As strange as it may sound, sometimes a little boredom is good for a child. When their days have every minute planned, there is very little opportunity for utilizing the imagination. This comes into play as an adult every day, whether it’s finding creative ideas at work, problem solving with a spouse, co-worker or yes, even this child, imagination is necessary. Learning to use imagination as a child bodes well for their future. And you may be surprised at the creative games your child develops following an “I’m bored!” proclamation.
All that said, since Spring Break is a short period, be mindful your child is still getting sufficient sleep. Staying up a little later is all right. But if your child suddenly is staying up 4 hours past their normal bedtime and allowed to sleep until noon, that first school day back is going to be brutal… for you both! So make a place for flexibility, but not at the expense of school’s very quick return.
And to keep your child’s active mind and body well-tuned for the Spring Break, turn to Children’s Optimal Brain and Body for supplemental nutrition. As always, feel free to reach out to BIPRI at firstname.lastname@example.org for ideas on keeping your child on track during this Spring Break and beyond.