The Learning Center (TLC) » Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints

The importance of preparing for the holiday season… helping your child have the best fun!

School holidays and the holiday season are traditionally a time of fun, holidays and a break from the routine of the normal school routine. It is expected to be a time of carefree fun for kids, but for many children, the sudden change of routine can be stressful, traumatic and very unsettling.

Even before school is finished there are often big changes in the school routine as classes take up regular practice for school plays or concerts, picnic days and other end of year clean ups for the classroom. This, too, can be stressful for a lot of the children we see.

One strategy to help kids through this time of change from normal school routine, to the transition phase at the end of term, through to school holidays, Christmas and the long summer holidays is to introduce the use of a visual timetable prior to all these changes. A visual routine calendar that a child makes can help them take ownership of many of the changes imposed on their usual routine. This allows a new sense of personal control, and also assists parents to keep a track of what is happening as well!

Ideally, children should start this transition process a week or two before the changes start, so they become used to and skilled at using the visual calendar. Once the changes start, they can use the calendar as a way of grounding themselves, and they can check as often as they need what is coming up later that day or week. This creates a feeling safety and routine within the changes of life.

We encourage families to create a calendar for the month of December with your child. Be sure to mark key holiday days. You might have a countdown to Christmas or to the time you go away on holidays.

Be creative and include your child in the process. For example, you might buy some pretty stickers from a cheap shop to jazz it up and make it more glamorous for Christmas.

Include play dates with pictures /names of their friends, outings to the beach, the park, and family activities. Children need to feel that there is consistency so it may be a good idea to indicate days that will follow a normal and expected routine (school days, regular extracurricular activities like sports, etc.)

Remember, don’t just stop at day one of school in late January or early February. Add in the new routine for the beginning of term and include regular sports practice, swimming lessons, music lessons. Even if it is the same routine as the end of this year, put it on the calendar and your child will adjust more easily to the changed routine.

We hope that this helps you all enjoy a relaxed and memorable holiday time!

The TLC staff