With the New Year well underway, parents are returning to work and kids are returning to daycare and school. However, the transition from holiday fun back to the daily grind isn’t always easy. The reality of the looming winter ahead without having the holidays to look forward to may leave your kids dealing with the post-holiday blues.
While parents can debrief with coworkers around the water cooler, remember that kids often express their feelings with poor behavior rather than words. Be on the lookout for signs of the post-holiday blues in your children. These include a lack of appetite, trouble sleeping, moodiness, an inability to control impulses, skipping activities that normally interest them, apathy, and tantrums. Since hibernating till spring isn’t an option, here are a few tips to beat the post-holiday blues this winter.
Stick to Routine
If celebrating the holidays threw off your family’s schedule, now is the time for parents and children to get back to regularly scheduled programming. Kids—and adults for that matter—thrive on routine. Sit down with your family to review your weekly schedule. Also prioritize getting back on track with your kids’ bedtime routines. Even missing just a few minutes of sleep every night can add up and greatly impact children’s cognitive abilities and behavior.
Get Active Together
The colder temps may have you spending more time indoors, but staying active is important for physical and mental well-being. Winter is a great time to schedule indoor swim lessons or explore indoor play centers. Families can work together to brainstorm activities. Regardless of what your family chooses to do, encourage at least one physical activity on a daily basis. Remember that movement promotes good feelings and curbs bad behavior.
Hopefully, time off work and school over the holidays fostered fun moments for your family. Keep the fun going by setting aside time to connect each week. It doesn’t have to be complicated—simply working together in the kitchen to prepare a meal or playing a board game can help strengthen family bonds. Those moments are important, because in addition to being fun, they can create space for children to express their feelings.
Kids need to have their feelings validated just like us. If your child exhibits signs of the blues, create a safe place for your child to feel heard. Empathizing with your child instead of immediately trying to fix the situation goes a long way. Besides, it’s hard for many adults to deal with the post-holiday blues, too! Remind your child that although they feel disappointed that the holidays are over, you will get through the winter together as a family.