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Enriching the school holiday

I once asked a few students what they do during holidays and how they feel about it. One student replied, ‘I did lots of practices almost every day. Mommy says this is the only way to improve my grades. She said I didn’t do so well. But the last week of holiday, we went to the malls, McDonalds and movies. I was so happy and then I come back for school.’ Other responses are more TV time, more gaming hours, holiday revision, trip/tour (seem like the part they enjoy most) and etc.

It seemed like some of our children either ‘enjoy’ the holiday too much or not-at-all because they think they ‘had to’ complete school work, tuition work and revision. It is understandable with the heavy syllabus, there is too much to cover and parents/educators would want children to use the holidays to improve and enhance learning skills.

However, to make sure they cooperate happily (with minimal stress and grudges), your children will need a clearer explanation on why they are required to do what they need to do. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Research shows that playing helps young children socialise better, promote good cognitive skills which benefit them in their studies as well. They just need to know when to work and when to play and the difference between both.

How do you ensure your children cooperate and strike a balance between studies and playtime?

#1 Draw a timetable

The first important thing to do is to plan. Do this together with your children so that they feel involved in the process of planning. They have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for about 28 days. With that resource (time) available, set a timeline for each activity, from sleep, meal time, recreational activities, sports, family outing to revision.

Be as creative as possible – Get them to colour, draw and decorate their timetable, frame it and put it at the most visible place at home. You will be surprise how such a mini accomplishment could boost your children’s confidence thus increasing their motivation to work.

#2 Develop good habits

If you have not considered good health habits such as exercising regularly and sleeping enough in the timetable, you should. Holiday is the best time to develop good habits and recondition/reset oneself from the bad ones. Since time is more flexible and not restricted by normal schooling hours, you can use this opportunity to help your child reset their biological clock.

It is understandable that they might want to stay up a little late than usual and wake up late during the holidays. That is fine as they do deserve it. However, habits stem from repetitive behaviours so make sure they do not make a habit out of it by doing it every single day. Set up a ‘sleep curfew’ flexible yet not too lenient to ensure they sleep enough. Besides that, remember to make exercise and eating healthy together with your children part of the ritual throughout the month.

To add some fun to things, you could also cook or play sports together. This way, it strengthens the parent-child bond which could promote healthier attachment adults’ relationship in future.

# 3 Socialise with others

Family time aside, encourage your children to mingle with their peers. This is the season of the year where you could easily find, and sign them up for various intensive educational camps. For example, if they need to improve/enhance their reading/spelling ability, consider signing them up for phonetics learning programme like:

If you have older children, you could look for exam answering techniques camps and life-skills training. One way or another, it is a gain with no harm for children to spend a few days of their break on such enrichment programmes for what’s worth.

Playing sports is a good way to enhance social skills as children learn to negotiate, empathise, cooperate and work with others as a team. By playing games with the others, they learn about humility in victory, gracious in defeat, leadership, teamwork, self-discipline and improve their executive brain function. It provides them skills to analyse life situation, pay attention to important details and make better decisions besides being an effective destressing method.

For more information on holiday programs, please visit our site at http://krtc-jurong.sg/

# 4 Holiday Revision

This is no doubt a compulsory activity in the to-do-list this upcoming holiday. Besides school work, children ought to invest time in extra revision too. Explain to them the importance of striking a balance between entertainment, recreational activities and work.

Make sure your children divide their time well for each subject. Stronger subjects will probably need less revision hour than weaker subjects. If your children prefer work on papers, you could get practice/exercise books and past year papers from the bookstores. Another option is to get it from the Internet.

With the use of technology in education, practice questions can be easily accessed anywhere and anytime. For example, online quiz websites like Smartjen (https://smartjen.com/) allows students or parents to select questions of different topics, levels and difficulties. The system then generates progress report for students to track their performance.

If you prefer external (human) guidance, send your children for tuition classes or hire a home tutor, all depending on how your children learn best. Some children like big classes as they feel more motivated by their peers while some learn more effectively in smaller classes or where more attention is given.

As parents, it is normal to worry about your children and on how they might turn out as adults. In fact, the concern is an adaptive parenting skill for survival. We all want our children to be that all-rounded, successful, smart and emotionally intelligent person that could contribute to the future generation. Researches find that children do need adult guidance (psychological term called scaffolding) to achieve their greatest potential. With all the responsibility on your shoulders, bear in mind to relax yourself and try not to be too hard on yourself and your kids.

YOU CAN HELP YOUR CHILDREN by using the upcoming holiday to build their character, from

1. Drawing a timetable with them (Strategic planning, build confidence, creativity)
2. Develop good habits (Self-discipline, time management skills)
3. Engage them in social activities (Social skills, empathy, teamwork, leadership, decision-making)
4. Holiday revision (time management, strategic planning, achievement, improvement)

Contact us if you need additional help (whether you are busy, working parents, open for improvisation) from our holiday programme/tutors.

We wish you and your children a productive holiday ahead. Cheers!