Intentional Connection Over the Holiday Break

This is the final week of instruction for many before schools close for holiday breaks. Time to step away from both in person and virtual teaching and learning may present a welcomed change–especially for those experiencing what has become known as “Zoom fatigue”. A lot of teachers and students are looking forward to a couple weeks of rest, relaxation and some physically distanced fun. However, breaks from school for some students bring stress. This is because when school is not in session students lack opportunities to interact with caring adults and peers, and have little or no consistency to help structure their days. This is difficult, especially for traumatized children who thrive when they experience predictability and connection. So, let’s set everyone up for success!

For those teachers and students who enjoy breaks – relish in every moment!

  • Get outside on sunny and warm(er) days
  • Connect with family and friends outside or virtually
  • Take a nap
  • Read a book
  • Catch up on movies and shows

For those who need consistency and connection, educators might try one of two of the following strategies

  • Schedule email messages to be sent a few times over break to students who benefit from interactions
  • Invite students to a “challenge” where they write down one thing every day that made them feel happy – tell them you will check in with them after the break for a full report.
  • Take some time in class this week to create a sample “holiday break” schedule for students where they identify two or three things they will do each day (e.g., play outside, read for 15 minutes, connect with a friend).
  • Remind them that even when you do not see them in class or virtually, you are thinking about them and will excited to see them when you both return from the break.

Navigating the holiday break is a topic that I discuss this week in our learning community Resilient Educators (formerly know as Back to School During a Pandemic). Join for free today and gain access to all of our previous episodes, as well as the educator network forum. Users are free to post their own topics and engage in meaningful conversations with like-minded educators. You may even see Starr’s experts joining in on your conversations!
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Dr. Caelan Soma

By Dr. Caelan Soma, PsyD, LMSW

Dr. Caelan Soma, PsyD, LMSW, Chief Clinical Officer, provides oversight for all clinical operations and research at Starr Commonwealth. Dr. Soma provides trauma assessment and trauma informed, resilience focused intervention for youth utilizing evidence-based practices, including TLC’s SITCAP® model programs.


About Starr Commonwealth

Starr Commonwealth is dedicated to the mission to lead with courage to create positive experiences so that all children, families, and communities flourish. We specialize in residential, community-based, educational, and professional training programs that build on the strengths of children, adults, and families in communities around the world. To schedule a training or consultation, please contact info@starr.org or call 800-837-5591.