Kids with Post-Holiday Blues
Kids get excited about the holidays. The parties and social gatherings of family and friends, the pretty and yummy Christmas goodies, the gifts, and being out of school: it’s all just so much fun! But when the holidays are over and the kids return to their usual routine, blues can set in. What can you do to help your kids avoid or deal with post-holiday blues?
1. Give your kids post-holiday things to look forward to. For example, you may say, “Your birthday is February 2. Now that Christmas is done, we can start planning your birthday party. Yay! What would you like to do to celebrate your birthday?” An alternative may be, “Uncle Johnny’s coming home from Afghanistan in January! Let’s plan a big welcome-home celebration for him! Yay! What do you think we should do to make the occasion special for Uncle Johnny?” If you have no events soon after Christmas, you can make a celebration out of Presidential Inauguration Day (January 20th), Martin Luther King Junior Day (January 21st), Chinese New Year (February 10th), Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras (February 12th), Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, (February 12th), Valentine’s Day (February 14th), etc.
2. Spend time together enjoying fond memories of the now-past holiday season. Have your kids write heart-felt thank-you notes to each person who gave them a gift. In writing how they felt upon receiving the gift (i.e., loved, excited, grateful), they will likely re-experience these feelings. You can write your heart-felt thank-you notes at the same time; you can read a few of your thank-you notes so that your kids can understand what you expect of their thank-you notes. Praise highly the notes your kids write well. Tell them you are so very proud of them for being such good letter writers. This shared family note-writing time can be a fun, bonding experience. Also, as a family, you can put all the photographs you have taken in a photograph album. Let your kids decorate each page in the album with their own artwork. When the album is done, go through it, page by page, with your kids. Talk about the photographs and the memories that they inspire. You may say, “Oh! Look at that picture! That was so funny! Do you remember when Aunt Janie came over dressed like one of Santa’s elves? That was so great!” You can make a fuss over the photograph album as a preservation for all time the great memories of that now-concluded holiday season. You can proudly show off the album to family and friends, and give your kids all the credit for the fine work they did on the album.
3. Talk about the benefits of the post-holiday period. For example, life isn’t so hectic. Maybe your family can enjoy quiet evenings at home playing board games again. You can sleep late on a Saturday morning because you don’t have a holiday party that day. You can return to your tried-and-true family rituals.
4. As a family, engage in regular physical exercise. Shovel and play in the snow, go to the gym to burn off “Christmas calories”, go snow skiing in Colorado, team up with another family to play tag football, or just have backyard three-legged races.
By following the above tips, you can help your kids avoid or deal with post-holiday blues.