The day before the last day in first semester, my kindergartener’s backpack was literally dripping as she walked to the car. And then I found an old lunch box I didn’t even remember her having… of course with furry friends growing inside of it.
Kids can be really gross, disorganized, and in their own worlds. Which means winter break is a great time to reset. It comes with lots of fun, tons of family time, and many memories made. But there is also this glorious span of about 3 days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve where things slow down, even if just for a moment.
And you can audibly hear everyone in the family take in a deep breath and exhale in slow motion.
And those are the perfect moments to help your student get ready to really push through the second semester.
An important back-to-school checklist every parent should go through this winter break
“Should” is a fairly strong word. But I can also honestly say that if, as parents, we don’t capitalize on those 3 days, then none of this will ever happen.
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Clean out and wash your child’s backpack and lunch box
I am not quite sure how a dark brown ring showed up on one of our lunch boxes nor do I understand why my 5-year-old literally has 9 bottles of water in her backpack. A fact which is is very proud of but kind of concerns me for her teen years.
A good wash with HOT water and Biokleen’s Bac-Out will rid the stinky funk AND ugly stains out of every backpack, lunch bag, and even your child’s entire wardrobe.
So your kid can literally start school a little fresher in January.
Organize their schoolwork, papers, and report cards
We have a GIANT 5-inch 3-ring binder. In it we keep papers from the beginning to the end of the year in the order we receive them. What it does is create a great record of their progress and at the end of the year, we pick out the things we like best to keep and scan the rest into a digital file… and then recycle all those papers.
Analyze their wardrobe for repairs and replacements
Whether your child wears a uniform to school or “regular clothes” it’s a good time to look for holes to patch and items to replace. Especially when children are so young, they also grow very fast. In fact one of my good friends was shocked when she discovered her daughter had completely outgrown her uniform in just 2 months.
This also helps organize for the next semester because shoes missing their mate or pants are too short they can get tossed, donated, or put in storage.
Check out our completely free routine chart and chore chart downloads to have your kids help clean.
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Find out school supply needs (both your child’s and their teacher’s)
It’s always helpful to send an email your kids’ teachers to find out what classroom needs there are. As a former teacher myself, I rarely had the things I needed second semester… and no one was thinking about it.
As a teacher we couldn’t ask students to bring in supplies for extra credit so I resorted to creative ways to bring in needed supplies as part of their grade… like a project that required students to decorate all sides of a tissue box.
You can bypass this by simply asking the teacher and looking through your child’s markers, colored pencils, crayons, and more to make sure they’re prepped for success in January.
Boost their immune systems
The end of our first semester of Kindergarten resulted in almost 2 weeks sick. And then the first day of winter break… the flu. And winter has just begun.
So make or buy elderberry to start boosting their immune systems for when they return to school. Plus, make sure they drink lots of water.
Let them rest
Without getting too far out of routine, go ahead and let them sleep more. This will help their minds rest and their bodies rebuild. Which means a healthier happier start to returning to school.
Play lots of educational games (not matter how old they are!)
Whether you have a teen, tween, or elementary aged kids, there are lots of games that reinforce concepts your children are learning. But the best part? You’re spending time as family and your kids are curling their noses up at “boring school stuff”.
Related: Read more about gameschooling here. We gameschool even while our child attends a local school classroom.
Is winter break a struggle because of discipline problems?
This 2-page printable cheat sheet might help you along the way. This first page is all suggestions and the other has the second column empty to allow you to write in what works for you family. Simply input your email below and it will be in your inbox. Plus, since you’ll now be a part of the Extremely Good Parenting community, we’ll send you some other awesome freebies & advice from time to time.
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!