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5 things every student needs to do over the holidays.

The holidays are upon us, and while students relish the breaks from school, they need to keep their heads in the academic game. Here are five things every student needs to do over the holidays.

1. Sleep

Most people need about 8 hours of sleep a night, but teenagers need even more, and they rarely get it.

Let your kids sleep until noon to recharge their batteries. Just make sure to start cycling back to a regular schedule a few days before school starts up again.

2. Read

This is a great time to reconnect with the joy of reading! Students can read just about anything that they enjoy to keep their brains active: novels, magazines, graphic novels, newspapers, etc.

Help your child find things to read on paper that are fun, or funny, or moving, or simply entertaining. But please, avoid reading a lot on phones, tablets and computers, all of which cause significant eye strain. (E-readers, like the Kindle, are okay.)

3. Exercise

The one routine students shouldn’t forgo over the holidays is exercise. They should keep their bodies moving, every day. But there are a lot of fun ways to stay active when all their friends are also out of school.

Help your child plan to play a flag football or soccer game at the park, surf or play in the waves (we do live in SoCal after all!), cycle down the coast, go for a hike with friends, try a new sport, join a friend for yoga, etc.

4. Travel

There is nothing quite so intellectually stimulating as an adventure, whether it’s a trip to an exotic country, a couple of days at a national park, or a trip to visit relatives.

Set an example, and show your child how to engage with the local scene, whatever that may be, as much as possible, and practice those foreign language skills on overseas trips!

(ed. note: If you’re reading this in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, try virtual travel instead. Many cities museums have online virtual tours. The British Museum in one of our favorites.)

5. Plan

Holidays are great times to look back at past successes and failures and plan for the future.

Sit down with your child to take a look at what is coming up academically and personally over the next few months, set some challenging but realistic goals, and make a plan for staying ahead of the curve.

And of course, have fun!

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