Did you know your child’s IQ goes down in January? The old adage, USE IT OR LOSE IT applies to school children over the long JANUARY break.

More than two weeks away from basic spelling, reading, comprehension, maths and just plain mental stimulation will cause their brains to switch off and valuable learning ground will be lost. The long Christmas holidays are often over six weeks and this presents serious difficulties for all children-particularly those who have struggled during the previous year.

Teachers often remark that when children return to school in February, it takes nearly a term to get most children to switch back on to effective learning mode.

Specially trained educators at the International Centre for Excellence, run academic and creative courses throughout January to help ALL children be poised for success in the new school year. Victoria offers these tips for parents who want to ensure their children do not slip behind.

* Get the TV off and restrict the use of digital media to no more than 1 hour a day. There will be howls of complaint but they will be forced to play, read, create, think, go outside and use their imaginations and brains.

  • If possible visit places that stimulate curiosity and provoke thinking skills such as art galleries and museums.
  • Encourage your children to play with friends and neighbourhood kids to develop their social and emotional skills.
  • Establish a family reading time for half an hour each night when EVERYONE reads.
  • Occasionally have a half hour note-passing time where family members who can write must pass notes rather than write- this is great fun!
  • If your child still needs to learn their times tables, make sure this practice happens at least 3 x per week. Ten minutes writing out of tables will give results.
  • Make a creativity box filled with odds and ends such as pencils, markers, paper of all sizes, cardboard tubes, sticky tape and stickers and encourage children to make things. Maybe join them in the process!
  • Eat together around the table and talk. Research indicates that children who talk frequently with their parents are more likely to do well at school!
  • Make up family stories- one person begins e.g. Once upon a time in a dark forest…… and then the next person adds on! These stories do not have to be written down as just making them up will teach children about narrative structure.
  • Get children to help with cooking. Cooking involves reading a recipe, measuring, following sequences and planning and is therefore a very “learning rich” activity!
  • Children love to help with gardening so if you get some cooler days ask them to help weed and tidy up the yard. They particularly love the chance to plan their own small patch of garden, choose plants and look after them and this teaches them about plants and develops their sense of responsibility.


If you follow a few of these tips your child will not suffer BRAIN DRAIN and will be ready to confidently commence the new school year!






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