Holidays, vacations, and breaks from school are always welcome, but reentry can be miserable. How do you get student behavior back on track? We’ve got the answers right here!
Resetting Behavior After a Break
Schoolwork takes time, effort, and concentration, and breaks from that are well-deserved. The downside? You often feel behind after a break and want to hit the ground running. Do your students feel the same way? Absolutely not!
Kids return from breaks tired, forgetful, and unruly. How do you reset student behavior so you can get back into school mode? (Hint: You don’t even have to yell!)
Look in the Mirror
Before you think about your students, think about yourself. Are you also tired from the break and stressed about all that needs to get done? Take a moment and recenter yourself. Think about the energy you are bringing to the kids. You want to be the calm, collected leader; your kids will take their cues from you.
Allow for an On-Ramp
No one can jump back in after a break at the same level of productivity and concentration as before. You and your kids need time to acclimate to the pace of schoolwork and the rhythm of the day. Manage your expectations. For every week of break, you’ll need a few days to get up to speed. If you took an extra-long vacation or holiday break, it may take a week to return to your pre-break rhythm.
Identify Keystone Activities
You want to gradually reintroduce your schoolday routine starting with keystone activities. These are the ones that provide the framework for your day. This may include a morning circle time, an after-lunch read-aloud, or a hands-on math activity. Start Day 1 of your return with the keystone activities, and make the other parts of the day easier than normal. Make the math lesson simpler and the writing activity shorter. As the days go by, you can gradually add back in your regular assignments and activities.
The first day back from break is a great time for a quick brush-up on your student behavior expectations. Keep it short and sweet: 1. Speak respectfully 2. Listen with attention 3. Pick up after yourself–give the short version of your list. How can your kids know when they are crossing the line if they can’t remember where the line is? Be proactive and communicate your expectations upfront.
Organize the Environment Before the Break
Breaks are usually fun-filled chaos. Bedtimes are ignored and sugar is everywhere. The regular routine is shoved to the side. Make your school classroom or school area a place of calm and organization. Before you leave for a break, streamline the space. Clear off the shelves, stack the papers, and get rid of clutter. Kids get their cues from their environment. If they return to an organized space, they will be much less distracted and better able to focus.
Behavior Management During the Holidays
If you are a homeschool parent, you know that managing your child’s behavior during holiday breaks is a serious challenge. Late nights, fun outings, unlimited screentime, and grandparents that love to spoil their grandbabies take their toll on the way your child behaves. Your usually reasonable child can quickly turn into an over-emotional, demanding tyrant.
How do you practice behavior management over the holiday break? Try these tips:
Maintain a Flexible Routine
Don’t throw routine completely out the window on a break. Even if you are traveling, try to keep bedtime and the bedtime ritual as close to the norm as you can. There will be occasional nights when that is not possible, but a well-rested child is a calm child.
Try to eat around the same times as well. Our eating times directly affect our sleep schedule. Though treats abound over break, limit when your child eats them (after a meal is best). Balance them with protein when you can.
You are not the grinch if you require some schoolwork. You could assign math games or fun printables, ask your child to keep a journal of holiday activities, or give him a holiday-themed book to read.
Know When to Have Fun
Don’t plan a bunch of late nights, if possible, and keep the marathon-long outings in check. If you can, plan for holiday activities during the day (preferably after a hearty breakfast). Make the evenings a time to wind down and relax after a fun-filled day.
Carve Calm Out of Crazy
Fun doesn’t have to mean constant activities and a lack of rules. You can plan activities that are both enjoyable and relaxing. What about family movie nights or walking/driving around to see holiday lights? Game nights or family yoga? Be creative and start some new, restful traditions!
Student Behavior Management After a Break
Whether you are approaching a break or on the tail end of one, you can help your students to keep their behavior in check. You hold the key to behavior management: get out in front of it. If you are clear, calm, and collected, your kids will get back on track in no time.