You have homework during the winter vacation. It's due the day you get back from the break.

These are the words every child, and parent, dread hearing. You want a break. You want time to relax. You want time at the kitchen table that doesn't involve algebra.

So here is your holiday homework.

Unplug Turn off the TV, the computer, the portable video games, and the cell phones. Play a board game together, play Hangman, or get the Sunday newspaper and divide the sections. Avoid the tendency to hang in front of the TV because of the cold weather this time of year.

ReconnectAsk questions during meal time, like "What was your favorite family vacation?" or "What is your favorite thing about our house?" Get to know each other again and tune in to what makes your children tick.

Laugh Get some joke books from the library or search for some (appropriate) jokes online. Make sure you read the jokes before you allow your child to see them- don't trust the internet to screen the sites that come up. Write them down on individual pieces of paper and put them in a pencil case or shoebox. You can pull out the "laugh box" whenever your family needs a pick-me-up!

Go!You know that museum you always say you want to go to? That book you want to borrow from the library? Have each member of the family write down one special place they want to visit during the winter break and start checking off your list. (Be realistic with your children about the feasibility of their choices; you're obviously not planning a last-minute trip to Disney!)

Don't forget to write down your homework. And remember - it's due the day you get back from break.

Jennifer Cerbasi teaches at a public school for children on the autism spectrum in New Jersey. As a coordinator of Applied Behavioral Analysis programs in the home, she works with parents to create and implement behavioral plans for their children in an environment that fosters both academic and social growth. In addition to her work both in the classroom and at home, she is also a member of the National Association of Special Education Teachers and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Jennifer is an educational consultant who works with families and educators to establish healthy and productive routines in the home and school. Adapting behavior management techniques she implemented for years as a special educator, she helps parents and teachers adopt these tools to fit their unique needs and priorities. Jennifer also speaks to parent and education groups on current topics in education and children's health. Visit www.jennifercerbasi.com