Help Middle Schoolers Get The Most Out Of Spring Break
Soon, students across the country will be escaping school for a week-long spring break. Planning a family trip? Lucky you! But for many parents, work demands and summer plans may keep them close to home. So, what can the kids do all week long? A high schooler can take the lead in managing his/her spring break (with maybe just a little guidance from our post!). But your middle schooler needs you to take an active role in making a plan to get the most out of spring break.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Involve your child in working out a plan (she’s more likely to stick to it).
- Pick out the broad goals (see below) that are important to you and your child.
- Select activities under each that appeal to you
- Plan how/when/where/with whom they will be done
- Most importantly, leave plenty of unscheduled free time to do anything or nothing at all!
We all need a bit of downtime just to catch up with our lives. Middle-schoolers are no different.
Complete missed work
Did your child miss a class or two in the past few weeks? Are there some overdue assignments? Maybe she needs some extra help with a tough topic or two? Now is a great time to tackle these. Talk it over with your child (and maybe your teacher), and find out what she can do to get up to speed. Remember to give her some help and encouragement while she’s doing it so it is less of a chore.
Reconnect with family
This is a good time to help your child catch up with family. Drop him off with the grandparents for a day or at your sister’s to spend time with the cousins or go to the skating rink with siblings. And of course, you as a parent should use this opportunity, when you don’t have to worry about homework and carpool schedules, to spend some quality time with your child doing something you both enjoy – even if its just pizza and movies on a school night!
Enjoying the time off is the most important thing your middle-schooler can do during spring break. It’s important for the mind and the body to have a rest every now and then. Breaks are scheduled for just that purpose! So let your children sleep in and just have some downtime reading young adult novels, watching a favorite show or playing a video games – what they can’t do during school days – and then they can recharge in other ways too.
Get the body moving
Students have way more “seat time” than they do movement at school, so encourage your child to put down the video game and get moving, at least for a little while every day. Maybe he can have friends over to shoot some hoops or play flag football. Your child may also enjoy short classes in your local Parks and Recreation so she can pick up some tennis or join a volleyball group. Make it a family activity and head out for a hike or bike ride. Exercise and being outdoors reduce stress, build healthy bodies, brains and minds, and, best of all, it is fun!
Is your child really interested in some topic or skill that she doesn’t get to explore at school? Give her a chance to learn something just for the fun for it – whether it is cooking or cartooning. Your son loves movies? Let him try making one himself and doing all the steps from script to final edits. Check out our post of creative activities for fun, engaging ideas that you can share with your child.
A little bit of prep work during spring break might make the rest of the school year much less stressful for your middle-schooler.
Get a head start
Middle school students are likely to be expected to deliver end-of-year projects and reports. Help your child develop a schedule for big projects by working backwards from the date they should be turned in. It is best if your child takes the lead, as this is his project, but offer encouragement and advice when he needs and wants it.
Reduce test anxiety
If your child gets nervous or stressed during tests, spring break’s a good time to start preparing lightly, without the pressure. A practice test or two and reviewing what she’s learned, especially tough topics, will help her get familiar with what’s expected and increase her confidence when test time approaches.
Prepare for high school
The transition from middle to high school is both exciting and a little scary. The high school will have orientation sessions, make sure you and your child attend them. If you know a parent with a teen at the school, try to arrange for a conversation – you’ll learn a lot of things that are not covered in websites or brochures! You and your eighth-grader may also use this time to plan ahead for high-school readiness activities for the summer, whether it is signing up for algebra review or doing a soccer camp if she wants to try out for the school team.
With a little planning, spring break can be refreshing as well as productive. But whatever you do, relax and make sure your middle-schooler does too – after all, that is the whole purpose of the break. What are your favorite activities with your middle-schooler on break?