As much as you enjoy the holiday season, there may be a part of you looking forward to the time after the holiday when the business is over and chilling out can begin. Your kids, on the other hand, are not thinking that far ahead. To prevent a post-holiday meltdown after this intense build up of expectations in advance of the holiday, they need your help. Help them to understand post-holiday expectations, activity levels and how you intend to get back to the regular family routine.
Start talking about post-holiday expectations now. No, you are not a stick-in-the mud for doing this, nor does it mean you stop talking holiday. It just means you balance your communication. Talking about the post-holiday now reminds your kids that, oh yeah, there is something that comes after the gift-giving extravaganza.
If you are looking for a day or two of hanging out at home to play with toys and read books, mention that. Talk about how it will be nice to have time to snuggle together and drink hot cocoa after the business. If post-holiday is time you like to reorganize (to accommodate the new stuff!), talk about that, too. That way, the post-holiday plans won't be a surprise! And if there are conflicting expectations, you'll figure it out sooner rather than later.
Rather than go from frenzy of activity to doing nothing at all, consider planning a few activities to help wind down the activity level. Whether it's a walk on the beach with friends or a trip to a children's museum, some level of activity can help slow the pace -- as incongruous as that may seem. If you're spinning, spinning, spinning and just stop, you're more likely to fall over. If you slow the spin first, you're more likely to stay upright. Your kids, too!
Make a plan to reestablish the regular routine and structure of your home over several days. Trying to do it all at once (particularly if your kids are on school break) may be met with some resistance! If your kids have been staying up later than usual, for example, get them back to the preferred bed time over several days.
The post-holiday season can be a welcome respite from the pressure and stress of the holiday itself, but it does deserve some consideration in its own right. Plan now for the post-holiday to make it a smoother transition for the whole family.
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