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Tips to keep kids learning on snow days

Thursday - 2/13/2014, 1:14pm  ET

WASHINGTON - School districts in the area have canceled or delayed school several times this year, due to snow and winter weather conditions. While all of this time off is fun for kids at first, the snow days start to cut into learning.

According to Ann Dolin, president and founder of Educational Connections Tutoring and author of "Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools, and Solutions for Stress-Free Homework," it's important for kids to stay on top of their school work to prevent them from forgetting what they've learned.

After just one day, students forget 50 to 80 percent of what they've learned in class. After a month, the statistic goes up to 97 percent, Dolin says. Therefore, constant review is essential.

Dolin has some tips when it comes to keeping kids learning, even when they're missing school.

Stay focused in the midst of fun activities:

Kids are kids: They're going to want to play in the snow. But older kids have assigned work that is unavoidable. The key is time management and scheduling, Dolin says.

"What you don't want, as a parent, is to have your child procrastinate so significantly that he waits until Sunday night to start all that work," she says.

"Ask him two questions: What do you have? And when will you do it? Have him jot down a plan of action. This is a technique our tutors often use because when tasks are in writing and the ideas come from the student, they are far more likely to follow through."

Limit screen time:

Once the appeal of snow wears off, kids are often tempted to watch TV or play video games for a long period of time. Dolin says it's important for parents to set a limit on screen time.

"Two hours, tops, is a good idea," Dolin says. "Use a timer, so that when it goes off, it's the timer telling the child ‘time's up,' instead of the parent. It takes the emotion out of the situation."

If your child tells you he is bored, brainstorm fun activities, jot them down on slips of paper and stuff them in a jar.

Use technology to your advantage:

Technology can be a huge asset in learning, Dolin says.

After reviewing popular apps and websites, she recommends the best ones kids can use to boost their learning.

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