With Christmas now in the past, children of all ages may be showing signs of holiday fun becoming holiday fatigue. Symptoms may include “boredom” (How can that be with all that stuff they got!), meltdowns, and all out temper tantrums. Pushed to the limits of exhaustion, excitement, and stimulation, children (and parents) may be overloaded and reaching their wits end.
You can get back to a normal, post-holiday life while you keep sane and help your children enjoy Christmas vacation.
Allow your children to control the clean-up.
Scary thought isn’t it? instead of demanding decorations and gifts be put away right after Christmas, take joy in the fact that your children want to display them. Help children stack gifts neatly under the tree and allow time for them to adjust, putting gifts away slowly and perhaps in stages. Many kids are comfortable putting clothing away but want to leave their toys and games out. Removing clothing eliminates a lot of the mess while allowing the “most important” stuff to stay on display.
Find a special way to display new items so they are easily accessible.
For example, new, unread books may be easier to put away if “away” means they are placed in a neat basket beside the couch handy for showing visitors and for stolen moments of quiet reading.
Allow your child to invite a friend over.
The holidays are about love and friendship. As adults, we sometimes get caught up in our own holiday fun and forget our children have their social circles too. Before putting gifts and decorations away, allow your children to invite friends over. Embrace the fact that your son or daughter wants to show off her family and even her gifts a bit too (you may want to put a special toy away and/or discuss sharing first).
Handle jealousy with calmness.
Some children have more and some less. That is just a fact, and as single parents, many of us are not able to provide everything we want for our children, but in America we are still more blessed than most. For yourself and for your child, keep the focus on Jesus and do not feel bad about not giving your child everything he wants.
Allow your children to play with the creche.
Obviously if you have an heirloom scene it should be kept out of children’s reach and possibly out of sight, “Lead me not into temptation.” Otherwise, children should be encouraged to play with the stable and figures of the creche. If you do not have a creche, many inexpensive nativity sets are on sale following Christmas. Children learn and process ideas through play. Allow children to handle the figures with care but knowing breakage is a possibility (stay nearby especially if the creche is glass). Teach them of the journey to Bethlehem and Jesus’ birth and life as a child. Encourage them to use their five senses while doing so.
Take your time when taking down decorations.
So much thought goes into putting decorations up but little prep goes into pulling them down and the house often seems bare after the lights and colors of Christmas disappear. Take down a few decorations at a time and give children special jobs. so they are an important part of the process.
Use time together to be together.
The Holy Family had very few material possessions as they huddled in the manger and yet the people gathered there had more than most of us will ever have. They had peace, love, and joy in knowing who they were and in being together. Take a few minutes out of each day to sit with your children and read that new book or play that new game. Even teens can sit with mom and explain how to use an Mp3 player or another electronic device.
Remember in all the holiday fun, the most important thing is to share your love of each other and for God with your children. Life does not have to be perfect to be perfectly wonderful. May the Christmas spirit be with you always. God Bless…