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Getting back to the family routine post-holiday

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

A positive step into a fresh, new year

At the end of the calendar year, it seems like all bets are off. You’re just off the frenzy of the holiday, school is out and routines are totally whacked. Sure, it can be fun to a certain extent to embrace the lack of schedule, but it can also be exhausting and stressful! Kids who normally thrive on routine have no idea what to expect and when and act (or act out) accordingly. It’s time to get back to your regular routine in preparation for the new year -- but you can’t do it all in one day.

Dad talking to kids

Many moms have found that some level of routine and schedule helps them and their kids manage the many demands of the day. From a morning get-out-the-door schedule to chore charts to bedtime routines, having some sense of what to expect and when and knowing that certain needed things are going to get done is helpful. At the holidays, many of those routines get whacky or even fly out the window in the special business of the season. You may be one of the many moms who is looking forward to getting back to that regular routine. How do you do it most effectively after all the craziness? How can you be ready for the new year?

Reevaluate

Now is a great time to think about your usual household routine -- and maybe make some adjustments. What works? What doesn't? Think about it not just in terms of the routine itself, but also in terms of starting fresh for the coming new year.

If, for example, there's something about the bedtime routine that's been stressful for you and/or your kids, what can you change to try to make it work better? What about the afternoon homework routine? Do you need to set up something different so each child has the space he or she needs? Is it mornings? Dinnertime? Whatever it is, approaching it positively and with thought can help start your new year off great.

A little at a time

It's nearly impossible to wake up one morning and say, "Today, everything is back to the old routine." You're out of practice and your kids are out of practice -- and it could be a set up for a very long and frustrating day. Instead, think about easing the transition over several days.

If your kids have been going to bed later and waking up later, try moving the bedtime and wakeup time incrementally earlier over several days. Likewise with dinnertime. If you've been lax with chores, try building back to normal chore levels over several days. Maybe you need to ease back the screen time and up the reading time. Whatever it is, thinking about it over several days can help make the transition smoother. You'll be fresh for the new year -- even before the new year begins.

Taking care to transition from holiday crazies to regular routine is post-holiday gift for all of you and a positive step into the new year. Once the new year is here, you and your family will be ready for it. You'll be fresh from the holidays and the post-holiday break, ready to take on a new year of opportunity.

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