Help Your Kids Beat the Post-Holiday Vacation Blues

The holiday season comes and goes so quickly it is difficult to catch your breath. The return to the routine of daily living at the end of holiday break can in fact be a relief in many ways — especially for parents charged with creating a holiday season of joy, happiness and good fun. All that merry making, planning, cooking, and keeping kids busy over break can result in exhaustion as it comes to an end. You know you have done your job well when you notice the dread your kids express when they realize it is time to report back to school. Even though many kids are excited about seeing their friends and teachers, the end of break can still be a bummer.

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Jumping back into the routine is easier for some kids than it is for others. It is not uncommon for kids and their parents to experience a mild case of the ‘post holiday blues,’ feelings of blah and disappointment once the reality of real life sets in.

Common Signs of Post-Holiday Break Blues

1. A typically happy child lacks some luster, seems distracted, even a bit dazed

2. A relatively organized child has difficulty getting herself reorganized for school and related after school activities and routines

3. A child seems less enthusiastic about outside activities such as sports or hobbies

4. A child experiences changes in his sleeping patterns — he is sleeping more or less

5. A child experiences changes in her eating patterns — she is eating more or less

6. A child seems uncharacteristically irritable, agitated or upset; if even little things seem to annoy or on occasion anger her

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What Parents Can Do to Help

1. Check in with your child. Find opportunities to sit down and discuss how she is feeling.

2. Empathy encourages acknowledgement of understanding. If you are also feeling a bit down in the aftermath of the holidays, say it out loud, this may help him to communicate more easily.

3. Provide some pampering. He’s not into his homework? Offer some hot chocolate and/or a short break.

4. Help her regulate her routines. Schedules can get way off kilter during break. Sometimes it just takes a little structure to jump back into the swing of things. Sit down and discuss a specific schedule with her. Have her write it down and post it this will make it more real.

5. Redirect irritability but respond with calm kindness and caring. Be mindful that your reactions to your child model the mood and behavior you are hoping to promote in him.

6. Offer reminders about events to which she can look forward. Talking about the good things to come refocuses her on the future, which will help her re-embrace the present.

Your child should be back to her old self in a week or two. A little bit of time and tenderness will go a long way in welcoming her back to baseline.
If your child does not seem to bounce back, and/or the signs and symptoms seems to be getting worse, this may be a sign that your child is dealing with more than a case of the post-holiday blues. Have her check in with a mental health professional, who can assess the situation and offer direction on what you and your child can do to help him feel better.

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