Spring Break! By: Rachel O. Shlain
It feels like we’re just getting back into a routine after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and not to mention all those sick days because of flu season. . Just when our kids are getting back to normal and we are actually accomplishing things at work, spring break is just around the corner. I don’t know about your child-care but mine will be off for the entire week. That, plus two weekends, leaves us with 9 days of vacation for the little ones. Here are some tips and advice about what to do and how to make the most out of this time:
Keep up with a vacation routine
Children need their routine. It is so important for their wellbeing to know what is about to happen and what’s coming next. Make sure your routine includes meals and naps alongside with fun and outdoor activities. (See attached schedule for ideas).
We don’t want the children to spend half of their vacation with their faces glued to a screen (and it really doesn’t matter if it’s a tablet, your phone or a TV). Advertisers are trying to convince us that screens are super-duper educational and good for our kids, but research shows that children who get too much screen time (more then 1-2 hours a day for children over 2 and any before 2), of any kind, suffer from an increased chance of developing attention problems, anxiety, depression, sleep difficulties and more. That is why you must limit their screen time and do your best to avoid any screen exposure for at least an hour before bedtime.
Use the time for learning
Children are like sponges; if you expose them to new knowledge, they will soak it all in. So help your children learn from everything around them: go for walks, play outside, and talk about the things surrounding us. It is beautiful outside this time of year, so help your children notice it: help them look up at the trees, encourage them to touch nature, to smell and feel it. Try going outside every day and collect something: flowers, sand, rocks, or dry branches and make an art project using your findings. On the last day, you will have your own “spring collection”, which you can hang and have a little “gallery opening”/ last day of vacation party.
Help your child fall in love with books
As part of your routine, try to expose your children to books every day. This will help them enrich their imagination, vocabulary, and, hopefully, will plant the seeds for a life-long love of reading the more a child is exposed to books and written words from a young age, the easier it is for him to learn how to read, write, as well as attain higher achievements at school. There is a wonderful new gadget that helps with just that; it’s called Sparkup – The Magical Book Reader. The Sparkup clips on to any picture book on a child’s bookshelf, allowing kids of all ages to read along with the personalized, pre-recorded voice of their dad, aunt, grandma, or any other loved one. Just because we need to limit screen time does not mean we need to deny our children the advantages of technology; we just have to make sure that technology is being used properly for and by our children. Sparkup uses smart technology to give our child endless possibilities to fall in love with reading, and allow us to have some time for our daily tasks.
Try to relax and enjoy
You know how everybody says that kids grow up so fast? Well, it’s true. So take the time to enjoy your family. Look at them, listen to the clever things they have to say, cherish every spring day you have together. Because before we know it, time flies and they are all grown up. Have a wonderful vacation!
|Sample spring break schedule|
|Good morning – Wake-up, morning routine, change clothes and eat breakfast|
|Morning walk/outdoor play followed by a small snack|
|Return home, wash hands, story time/ Sparkup/ 1/2 hour screen time (over 2 years), during which the parent can prepare lunch|
|Lunch + clean up|
|Wash hands and change clothes for nap|
|Nap time/ relax time: rest in a quiet, low stimuli room and read books/ use Sparkup / play an imagination game|
|Arts and crafts time/ dramatic play/ Sparkup|
|High energy play (sports, outdoor fun, scooter riding, free play)|
|Arts and crafts time/ Dramatic play/ Sparkup|
|Parent- child bonding time (story, song, conversation, cuddling)|
About the Author
Rachel O. Shlain is a Parent Educator & Sleep consultant. Her training includes an MA in Early Education and Development, both from the University of Haifa, Israel. Rachel is a certified sleep consultant and has been working with families for over 6 years, and with children for over a decade. Rachel recently began consulting with Sparkup – The Magical Book Reader. Her goal is to help parents find sensitive practical ways to improve everyday life with young children.