# Holiday Break Calm
Here we are, the final week of 2017. As we head into the winter break with our kids, we revisit our 2017 theme, CONNECT. Time off of school and work, time with family and friends creates spaces for connection.
Time together can work well, and it can also lead to frustration, disappointment and unpleasant reactions. When parents take the time to put a little bit of planning in place, the results can bring relief and #HolidayCalm.
Who’s doing what, when?
As fun as it is to have a break, going from full schedule to no schedule can really backfire for some kids. Use the calendar or a visual display to let kids know when they are booked for different events/tasks, when they need some down time, and when they can do their own thing.
Can they head out and play with a neighbour? How much screen time are they allowed each day? Are there still chores that need to be done? Digging out the “I’m bored” list from the summer might be a great idea, or make a new one, so that kids over 3 can take responsibility for their own entertainment for parts of the day.
Remember to plan some group activities too and get everyone burning off steam, inside or out with some active time.
What’s happening with sleep?
Getting clear about this will get rid of the need to nag and complain throughout the break. Are there a couple of later nights planned? If so, clarify that this is not the start of a bedtime free-fall. Sleep leads to healthier immune systems, and a better ability to manage the other excitement/stress coming your way this holiday season.
The same kind of clarity about wake-up times is important. When sleep cycles get thrown off, little-ones might start waking even earlier than normal and bigger-ones might sleep a good chunk of the day. Get clear about when is the earliest people can get out of bed and also, when is the latest they can stay in bed. Letting your teen know this in advance is much kinder than hauling him out of bed in frustration.
Planning regular meal times can really help to stabilize routines, and blood sugar levels. There’s nothing wrong with treats, along with other healthy options along the way.
Heading on a trip? Pack some healthy snacks for those moments when you can’t find food to purchase and your travel plans didn’t go exactly to schedule.
Water can really help too. Keeping everyone hydrated makes a big difference in their state of mind.
Teens heading back to exams in January may well have a study plan that they need to follow this season. Rather than nagging them daily (which is gross for them and for you,) set everyone up for success by supporting them in building a study schedule and posting it where it can be seen by you and them. That way, everyone is on track to get the studying underway.
It may feel like one more thing to add to your already full plate, at the same time, planning the holiday break (even just a little,) can really increase the level of calm and will allow for your family to connect over meals, games, movies and quiet time; creating memories that will last for years to come.
This week, ask yourself these questions:
What really annoyed me last year over the break? How can we plan for it to be better this year?
Do I care if my teens sleep in? If yes, what limits can I share ahead of time?
Do I feel frustrated that I’m the only one cooking and cleaning on the break? How can I divide up the tasks and ask for help ahead of time?
What events will I share with the family so that we are all clear about what’s happening?
How will we connect this holiday?
Wishing you time together over these last days of the year, along with strength, patience, perseverance, and joy. We look forward to sharing with you again in the new year!