Let’s face it. Unless your family has a heap of winter birthdays, January can be a bit of a letdown. After months filled with fun–Thanksgiving turkey, trick-or-treating, gifts from Santa, and ushering in a New Year–we suddenly find ourselves facing an empty slate. A calendar devoid of big events–except for the occasional snowstorm. Kids get especially excited about the holidays, so when the fun comes to a screeching halt, they are most susceptible to the post-holiday blues.
Here are a few ways to turn your child’s frown upside down and combat these feelings of disappointment.
1. Return to a routine. Kids need a degree of normalcy and the holiday season tends to knock everything off-kilter. A return to structured mealtimes, playtimes, and bedtimes will help remove anxiety. And a regular sleep schedule will improve their mood.
2. Look ahead. Find future events for your child to anticipate. Valentine’s Day and Spring Break are not far off. And there are likely family events on the horizon. You may even wish to plan an event, so the whole family can beat the blues.
3. Get outside. It’s hard to feel depressed when you’re in the sunshine–even when the mercury is below zero. Take your kids skating, cross-country skiing, tobogganing, or simply have a good old-fashioned snowball fight. You’ll get the health benefits of exercise and a dose of Vitamin D, while spending quality time together.
4. Stay connected. The family has likely spent a lot of time together over the holidays. A return to normalcy need not equate to less quality time as a family unit. Make sure that you do things together. Introduce a family game night, do a puzzle, bake some cookies, build a snowman, scrapbook your holiday memories, or try a new hobby.
5. Talk with your kids. It is important to keep the lines of communication open and allow your child to express their feelings. Show empathy and validate these feelings. Also, share your own feelings. It is good for children to know that what they are experiencing is normal.
6. Remind them that the holidays come every year. Younger children, in particular, may need to be reminded that the holidays are not gone forever, never to return. Remind them that they have many holiday celebrations to look forward to in the future.
Yes, January–and February and March–can be a downer, but by keeping a positive attitude and celebrating everyday events, you can help your family overcome the post-holiday blues. Turn those frowns upside down and embrace the days to come.
How do you help your family beat the blues?
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer and avid blogger who frequently writes for Reputation.com.