Keeping children focused on schoolwork during the holidays


Parents often ask: “How can I keep my child focused on their school work during the holidays?" Educational Psychologist Marinda Botha recons your focus should never be on that in the first place. In this article, she explains what you should be doing instead.

Children need a break, they need to rest, they need to play and they need to be bored. Think about the way you look forward to your leave and the downtime you plan for yourself.

Developmental specialists will all tell you that play is serious learning and your child can acquire all the skills they need for scholastic success through play at home. Focusing on schoolwork during holidays could lead to exhaustion and under performance. So is it really worth it?

I always use the following recipe for holidays:
  • Do the things they enjoy, but don’t get time to do during the school term. This could be going to the movies, arts and crafts, or any other hobby that they enjoy.
  • Try something new and out of your child’s comfort zone. They won’t know if they like something without trying it first. It could be a physical activity like ice skating, wall climbing and hiking. Why don’t you try an art exhibition or a play at the local theatre?
  • Just let them be. You don’t have to entertain them every second of every day. Let them be lazy and let them be bored. It’s good for them.
  • Let them teach you something. You might be amazed at what they know and their ability to convey knowledge. This is a valuable skill in the world of work, and you could practice this skill in a very informal way. Don’t criticize and don’t correct them. They are the teacher, you should be the student.

Through all this you developed gross motor skills, fine motor skills, concentration, vocabulary and so much more, without even trying. The focus should be fun, and then the rest will follow. You might also want to read this article on fine motor skills to learn more, as well as this article on outdoor family fun for holiday fun with your family.