Don’t Let the Holiday Break Fracture Your Routine
It happens every year – that frantic countdown to the holidays. As a parent, you know that the kids are wound tight and everyone is busy with parties, school and church programs, shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating…and the list goes on and on. Sometimes it feels a bit like a holiday hurricane that lasts for days.
Amid all the fun and celebrations, the habits you’ve worked so hard to instill in your kids throughout the school year can get tossed by the wayside. Suddenly bedtime, eating habits, time spent on gaming and cell phones are disrupted and out of whack.
These changes in the regular schedule can impact behaviors and moods, and often make it hard to get back into the routine when the holiday break ends. Here are some helpful ideas to add some structure to the break in order to ease the eventual transition back to school.
Keep the Same Bedtime Routines
- Keep bedtime and wake up times approximately the same. Children do and feel their best when they get enough sleep.
- Make sure that the rituals like bath/shower, putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, and reading a bedtime story continue. Kids respond to structure and like to know what is expected of them.
- Make sure that your kids unplug and unwind by turning off electronics approximately an hour before bedtime.
Prioritize Healthy Eating
- Remember to feed your kids on a regular basis throughout the break, despite changes in routine. This will help maintain their energy and lead to less snacking.
- Work out a balance with your kids regarding healthy food options and holiday sweets and treats.
- Keep your kids hydrated by drinking lots of water. The goal is to drink at least two glasses of water for each cup of hot chocolate or apple cider enjoyed.
- Don’t let your kids fill up on calorie-laden snacks and save the desserts until after dinner.
Emphasize Physical Activity
- Make sure to include some physical activity in your child’s day when they are on break.
- Indoor or outdoor exercise both are good and help play an important role in your child’s ability to pay attention, listen and sleep well.
While maintaining rules during the holiday break may seem restrictive or bah humbug, keeping your child on a predictable schedule can help all of you enjoy the season and make the transition back to school much smoother!