Winter Break is one of the most joyous times in most kids’ lives, and for good reason: No school, holiday treats, presents, family celebrations, and more. But for the parents that have to keep working with a child at home while also planning these holiday celebrations, this season can be one of the most stressful. Here are five tips to make sure that both you and your children can truly revel in this “most wonderful time of the year.”

1. Balance Your Schedule

As a parent, it’s tempting to micromanage your child’s schedule during the holidays so you can ensure that you always know what’s going on and ensure that your child stays active and healthy. But part of why it’s great to be out of school as a kid is the lack of schedule and having true free time. So striking a balance between routine and freedom is key: Set meal times, bedtimes (and out-of-bed times), and schedule some awesome activities (see #3) while still leaving wide open blocks for your child can save you some stress while allowing your kids to enjoy their break.

2. Expand Your Traditions

The holiday season is all about family traditions. While these meals, activities, and treats are important to family bonding and building future cherished memories, the last thing you want is to turn the future generations off of these traditions by letting them gather dust or remain stodgy and repetitive. Open your special dinner to select friends, try new twists on your traditional family dishes, or invite your children to help pass down family stories in new, fun, or interactive ways. By giving your traditions to breathe, grow, and flourish, you’ll ensure they never die out completely.

3. Create New Experiences

Not all traditions have to be long-standing; new traditions are created every year. Maybe your town has a winter carnival that you’ve never attended, or there’s a winter sport you’ve never tried. Involving your child in new activities allows them to have a hand in building new family memories will help the holidays stay happy for years to come. And of course, while it may be cliché to say, memories last longer than any present your child will receive!

4. Advocate for Your Child

Nobody wants to admit it, but every family puts its own pressure on the newest generation to act a certain way. It may not be intentional, but the burden of unspoken expectations can be a source of anxiety for children of any age. Whether it’s a grandfather telling your elementary school-aged son that helping with the cooking “isn’t for men” or an aunt making passing comments that your daughter in art school will “never make any money,” it’s your job as a parent to support your child’s growth and development, even if it means shutting down the judgment of others.

5. Make a Plan for Back to School

The end of a school session is a huge relief for students, but it also comes with one dreaded stressor: the report card. Less-than-stellar grades can be a source of embarrassment for a child and can lead to fear of punishment rather than understanding. Whether your child is struggling academically or a Straight-A Student, it’s important to reassure them of your love and parental support and work to make sure that when they go back to school in the New Year, your parental involvement helps make things awesome. By staying connected to your child’s classroom, you can help your child make corrections before mistakes turn into bigger problems, which helps avoid the stress of report card surprises.

Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to make a solid plan for academic success. New apps like PreciouStatus help you stay in the loop on a daily basis, offering mobile daily sheets, updates on your child’s activities, attendance, and even direct communication from teachers and administrators with photos, classroom notes, school announcements, and more. If your school doesn’t offer the tools to keep you well-connected, suggest PreciouStatus as an app to increase parental engagement, and have them call (888) 959-8982 today to learn more about the #1 app for connecting parents and teachers.