Winter break is a wonderful time of the year when we can all join together with our families and enjoy a much-needed break. It’s a joyous moment at the end of a long year when everyone has the opportunity to rest up and refresh. However, more often than not, this can be a hectic time for families. From family gatherings, long trips, bustling malls, gift-wrapping and decorating, there can be so much to think about during what is meant to be a time to rest. Whether you are shopping for gifts, traveling, or planning for holiday parties, winter vacation can often leave parents and children feeling overwhelmed.

Although the winter holidays can be a busy, exciting time, it is important to remember to take a moment to relax and enjoy time with family. After all, if your children are in school, it can often feel like your life revolves around homework, studying, and extracurricular activities. The winter season is a chance for you all to reconnect. It is important to remember that children’s lives are just as busy as yours, and they have probably been missing quality time with you too.

Your children will always remember these moments with you. During the winter holidays, make some happy memories. Celebrate traditions, sing songs, play games, and read stories. Teach your children a family recipe, tell them stories about when you were young, and listen to the stories they have to share, too. This is a great chance to catch up on anything and everything with your kids! Not only can you spend quality time with them, you can help keep them engaged and ready to take on the next semester in school.

These days, a multitude of opportunities are available to keep your children up to speed in fun, exciting ways. Check out some of these educational websites during the holiday winter break:

Playing games with your children are very important. Ask your teachers about fun activities that might keep them learning and motivated over the break. Do your research! There are a lot of great ways to keep young minds active.

If your child likes to read, have them read with you. Books are an invaluable tool used for bonding as well as learning with children. If your child is an emerging reader, read them stories about your family’s traditions. Give them opportunities to tell the stories in their own words. If you have a more advanced reader, try hosting a family book club. If they see you excited about something you are reading, they are likely to take your lead. A love for learning and reading starts at home and you are their biggest example!

If you have older children in middle or high school, there is a chance they may have to study or do assignments over the break. Don’t let them get discouraged, be their cheerleader! If they have a research assignment, take interest in it. Let them share what they have learned with you. Sometimes, the best way to help your child is to simply be there to listen. They might want to bounce some ideas off of you. Even as kids get older, (and even when they act like they don’t) they still look to their families for guidance and support. Being present and involved can be the extra push they need to finish that essay due after the break!

No matter what age your child is, they still have another semester to go come January. If they see you setting goals and looking forward to the next challenge, they are more prone to do the same.

There is much to look forward to this winter break. Enjoy this time with your family. Use this opportunity to connect with your kids. If you are traveling, travel safely and wisely. Take some time from the hustle and bustle to count your blessings and remember what this time of year is all about: family.

Happy Holidays Everyone!