Winter break gives you and your children a much-needed intermission from the school year. This break may be two to three weeks in most areas of the country, and it often coincides with the Christmas and New Year holidays. During this break, children often travel with families or entertain guests at home, and they also may stay up late and sleep in late. Such breaks can be good for mental health and well-being, but it can be a shock to their little systems when they have to return back to school in January. As a parent, you can spend the last day, or few days, of this break preparing them for school again by following a few important tips.

Adjust Their Bedtime

Some parents allow their kids to stay up hours later than usual during this break, and this is particularly true for older kids and teens. Their bodies have gotten used to a later sleep schedule, so your goal is to re-adjust their sleep schedule for them. This makes it easier to fall asleep early once school as started again. Consider tapering their bedtime back by an hour each night for a few nights if they are off their regular schedule significantly.


Wake Them Up Earlier

Just as you put the kids to bed earlier at night, you want to wake them up earlier during the day. They may not need to get up bright and early at 6 am, or whatever their normal school wake-up time is. However, they can wake up at 8 am rather than noon each day to help their bodies readjust.


Keep Them Active During the Day

Adjusting their wake and sleep cycles is only part of your battle when preparing the kids to return to school from their winter break. Keeping children active during the day also helps them to fall asleep easier at night. It can be a challenge to find physical activities for children in the dead of winter, but it is possible. For example, depending on your location, ice skating, skiing or simply spending time playing in the snow are all options to consider.


Check Up On Their Health

Having a few extra weeks off of school means that your kids will be available during the day. It’s a good idea to take advantage of this time by scheduling doctor, dentist, or other appointments. Doctor and dentist appointments may be scarce to find in December, but if your insurance rolls over at the start of the new year, you’ll be happy you got in. If your children spend time playing or sleeping over at friends’ houses you might also want to see a specialty service, like Heartland Healthy Heads, to get them checked and/or treated for lice. Sending your kids back to school with a clean bill of health can make a big difference.


The end of school break often marks the beginning of the second semester of school, and you want your kids to get this semester off on the right foot, just as you wanted them to start the new school year right a few months ago. If you work with your kids to make them ready for school to start up, everyone can benefit from being better rested and better prepared.