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They're Home for the Holidays. Now What?
(Continued from EdWorld At Home)

Be yourself!

It’s tempting to try to immerse yourself in youth culture, to listen to your kids’ favorite bands and play favorite kid video games, so you can be more of a “friend.” But unless that’s you, your kids love you for you. Let friends talk to your kids about Ashlee Simpson. You keep talking about how to be a good person. Besides, you’ll always be a couple of coolness cycles behind the school hallway.

Space is the final frontier

With a week or more together, in the cold, you might start to get on each other’s nerves. Don’t crack down on every perceived offense or slight. In the years ahead, it will become rarer and rarer for you to have this kind of time together. Make it a goal for your conversations to be about more than scolding this week.

Talk about your passion

Plan to take one day or evening during the vacation to do something you love that you’ve never done with your child before: His or her first classical music concert or Frisbee lesson, his or her first professional Broadway-style play or trip to your old college campus. Whatever you do, make it a learning opportunity. Trust us: If they see you respond to something with real passion, they’ll get into it, too, and they’ll want to hear what you have to say about it. (By the way, this is exactly what your kids’ favorite teachers do.) Even a day trip to a place you loved to play as a child gives you the chance to talk about what your community was like when you were growing up, or about the struggles you or your friends may have had, or the creative ways you devised to fill your time.

Find a cause

The holiday season is a time for giving, and a time for giving to others. The message that there are people out there without toys, without coats, without enough to eat, can impact kids powerfully during the otherwise bountiful holiday season. Spend one afternoon helping out in a way you both care about: donating your pennies, contributing to a food drive, helping to make collections for a cause. And then make sure it doesn’t become a one-time thing. Sit down with your child and talk about what your next charity project will be and what it will take to get it done.

More Resources & Ideas from the Web

From our own collection of great ideas for teachers, here’s an article that may give you some ideas to help charity, for the holidays, start at home:

'Tis the Season: Emphasize the giving -- not the getting -- this holiday season.

The article for kids on Education World At Home encourages them to read the newspaper every day during the holidays. There’s a lot of research that shows how effective newspaper reading is in raising kids’ academic performance. Here are a few teacher resources you might want to check out related to teaching current events.

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