The winter holidays are coming to an end. For some it is a great relief to get back into the regular routines of school and work but for kids it might be met with resistance in getting back to bedtimes, weekday rules and back to school.
I am reminded of the Ikea commercial where the lady is screaming at her husband to "Start the car! Start the car!" as she makes a dash for it with her amazing deals. I kind of feel the same..."Start the car!" as I dash away from morning drop off on the first day back after winter holidays. Now don't get me wrong, I truly adore my daughter and really enjoy spending time with her, but I feel that I am a better parent, adult and over all human when I am in my regular routine. Since our holidays are usually pretty low key, the transition is usually simple and stress less, but what if you are coming back from being away on holidays, all-rules-out-the-window, holiday extravaganza kind of winter break?
For some children the thought of heading back can cause a lot of anxiety and stress. Here's a few ways to help in lessening that stress and anxiety in hopes of making it a smoother transition.
1. Focus on the positive. One of the big things that causes anxiety and stress is the unknown. Chat with your child about all the great things they can look forward to when it comes to going back to school. Focus on the subjects they like. Chat about seeing their friends or their favorite teacher again.
2. Create a calendar/schedule. It can be simple or elaborate. The detail is up to you, but the thought is to rule out all of the unknowns. This way children can focus on what is in front of them. It will help them see more concretely what plans are for them and will help to make them feel more settled.
3. Get a good nights sleep. If you can, then for sure get your kids back into their sleep routine. Even if you start today!! I know over the holidays, I have let my daughter's bedtime waiver over the usual times, but I know that she "functions" fundamentally better with a good night's sleep. I've paid close attention to what is too much and what is not enough sleep and although we sometimes need to adjust, it's a pretty standard number which makes bedtime routines and morning wake ups a lot easier. I always consider what I am like when I have too much or not enough sleep and how I function throughout the day. I want my daughter to have the best days possible and so that's why her sleep routine is very important.
4. Get back to eating healthy. For some this is not a problem, but for most, the holidays are a time to indulge in all the treats of the season. I know we certainly have had our fair share. Just like sleep, healthy eating routines are important. My daughter's eating routines are super synced with her school routine. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, after school snack, dinner. Kids burn an enormous amount of calories and it's important we put the right fuel into them.
5. Empathize. It sounds probably weird that I am mentioning being empathetic to our children, but on more than one occasion I have caught myself in a less than empathetic parenting moment. I have found that when I am empathetic and I listen to my daughter, she is more apt to bring forth her worries and anxieties which makes them easier to either dissolve, or tackle and talk through. This all goes back to point number 1 - focus on the positive.
So, no matter what holiday or break you are transitioning back from, there are ways that you can make this transition less stressful and full of less anxiety if you focus on the positive, take away the unknowns and get back to your healthy routines.