It begins! For the next 13 days, your children are home from school. It won’t be long until you hear those familiar words, “I’m bored,” (if you you’ve already heard them). While it’s nice to have more time as a family, it can feel overwhelming to fill that time without fighting.
1. Take time for yourself
It’s easy to let your usual schedule go during the holidays. While it’s nice to relax a bit, don’t forget to schedule time for self-care. Waking at your usual time can give you a chance to read a book, meditate, sip a cup of coffee or tea, exercise, or do whatever fills your battery. You’ll be better able to parent the way you’d like after taking time for yourself.
2. Maintain a routine
Children thrive on routine. They like to know what is coming next in their day. While they, too, are likely looking forward to a change of pace, it’s important to keep at least some of their schedule as it usually is. Perhaps they will sleep in a bit, but then they’ll eat breakfast and do their chores as they typically do. Whatever you decide to do, make it predictable, especially for younger children.
3. Start with a good meal
The holidays are filled with sugary treats that can leave us all feeling less-than-optimal. Knowing you and your family will be indulging later, start the day with a balanced meal. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; something as simple as oatmeal can give you and your kids the energy you need for your day.
4. Family Projects
School breaks can be a good time to accomplish tasks that don’t fit into a typical week. Make a list of things you’d like to see accomplished, then sit down as a family and brainstorm what has been neglected around the house, and schedule some of it into your days. Whether that’s cleaning ceiling fans, washing walls, or finding outgrown or unused items to donate, this extra time at home can provide opportunities to work together as a family to make everyone’s lives a little calmer when it’s time to go back to school.
5. Family Traditions and Rituals
The holidays are a great time to create and practice family traditions and rituals. Maybe you already practice some rituals or traditions. Get your family together and discuss favorite traditions and some you’d like to add. Trying to do it all can be overwhelming, but selecting a few things that are meaningful to your family can make the holidays more enjoyable. Whether your traditions are new or old, they create wonderful experiences for bonding as well as life-long memories.
6. Let it go
Take some time to relax as a family. It’s impossible, not to mention miserable, to try to accomplish everything this time of year. If you’re feeling rushed, let some things go. You might be surprised to find you don’t miss them. Take some time to play in the snow, sit around the fire, read Christmas books, or watch your favorite Christmas movie together. Whatever you choose, pause from the holiday hustle and make this a guilt and worry-free time. Calm, slow days can be rare, so take advantage of them while you can.
Enjoying Christmas Break is about balance. When you take care of yourself and mix fun with routines, you’re better able to see where that balance is. With a little planning and communication, the whole family can enjoy this break.
Higgins Family Center provides a variety of services including individual, couple, family, and distance services. We also offer individualized parent coaching, parenting classes, supervised visitation, and postpartum doula services. Would you like to meet with us? Call or text 435-828-3255.
Christina Higgins, MS, is an experienced parenting coach and postpartum doula. She works with parents of children birth through adolescence in the Uintah Basin.
Jesse P. Higgins, MS, LMFT, CFLE is a licensed marriage and family therapist. He works with adolescents, adults, couples, and families in the Uintah Basin. He specializes in helping you reach any individual, parenting, or relationship goal.