The festive season is here, bringing with it a whirlwind of joy, family gatherings, and the unmistakable scent of gingerbread cookies! As a parent, it’s natural to want the best for your child, including their academic success. However, finding the right balance between holiday merriment and keeping up with schoolwork or revision can be challenging.

In this article, we’ll explore various strategies that can help you and your child make the most out of the festive period without compromising academic progress.

The importance of a break

During the Christmas break, it’s crucial that your child takes some well-deserved downtime. Periods of rest and relaxation help children and teenagers regulate their emotions, lower their stress levels, and enhance their memory and cognitive abilities. Encouraging your child to step back from their studies will help them return to school in the new year with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

The holiday break is also a great opportunity for your child to catch up on sleep and establish healthier habits – between school, extracurricular activities, and homework, sleep often takes a backseat during term time!

Should your child take a complete break from schoolwork during the holidays?

If your child doesn’t have any major exams or assessments coming up and they aren’t in a critical exam year, consider letting them take a complete break from schoolwork once they have completed all their homework. This break will be a much-needed opportunity for your child to relax, recharge their batteries, and refocus. They can spend the rest of the holidays socialising with family and friends and gorging on chocolate! It may also be a chance for them to pursue other hobbies or interests that they may not have had time for while juggling their studies.

A teenage girl relaxing in bed whilst watching Netflix.

If your child isn’t as lucky and has mock exams after the Christmas holidays, it’s vital to ensure they still get the rest they need. Consider setting aside specific days throughout the Christmas break when they’re not allowed to do any schoolwork. If your child has a revision timetable, make sure they block out these rest days so they can plan their study sessions accordingly. Having these designated days off will allow your child to fully unwind and engage in festive activities without feeling guilty or overwhelmed by academic pressures. This will also help them return to their revision with renewed energy and (hopefully) motivation!

Create a realistic study schedule

Sit down with your child and make a list of their holiday homework, assignments, and revision. Break down large tasks, such as ‘Biology revision’ into smaller, more manageable chunks like ‘make flashcards for Biology Topic 1.1 Cell Structure’. It’s helpful to estimate the time required for each task to avoid cramming a big project into a short period of time.

After scheduling specific days off, come up with a realistic schedule that accommodates your child’s academic responsibilities, as well as festive activities. Remember to schedule in short breaks during ‘study time’ to allow your child to take some time away from their desk. If their timetable is realistic, you’re less likely to have disagreements when it comes to making them stick to it.

For more detailed guidance on creating the perfect revision timetable, check out our article on How to make a revision timetable you’ll actually use!

Father helping his daughter prepare for A Level results day.

Quality over quantity

When it comes to schoolwork or revision during the holidays, prioritise quality over quantity. Focused, effective study sessions are more beneficial than marathon cramming sessions. Encourage your child to try out the Pomodoro technique – they can spend 25 minutes working on a focused task and then take a five minute break to get away from their screen, grab a snack, and stretch their legs. Several websites and revision apps, such as Forest, provide an automated Pomodoro timer for students to use.

Help your child identify effective revision methods that suit their learning style – whether it’s taking notes, creating flashcards, visualising concepts through mind maps, or practising past papers. Understanding what works best for them will save time and boost their productivity. Additionally, encourage your child to set clear and achievable goals for each study session. Specific objectives, such as completing a section of a textbook or mastering a set of equations, provide direction and purpose to their study time.

Finding the right balance between schoolwork and holiday festivities can be challenging. Work with your child to create a realistic study schedule that accommodates both academic tasks and festive activities. By setting achievable goals, promoting focused bursts of study, and allowing ample time for rest and relaxation, you can ensure your child enjoys a well-rounded and fulfilling Christmas break that prepares them for a successful return to school in the new year.

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Michelle Wright

With a background as a full-time tutor, Michelle's journey at PMT Education began when she was recruited to organise their revision courses. In her capacity as Head of Operations, she not only manages the day-to-day aspects but also takes the lead in running the tuition platform and holds a crucial role in tutor recruitment.