Does Your Child Have a Case of the Post-Holiday Blues? Here’s How to Cope!

After the holidays, many people, including kids, feel a little blue that all the fun is over and a long cold winter is ahead. Little ones might have extra difficulty dealing with the fact that there are no more special events or presents to look forward to as you move back into your regular routine. If you’ve been running on overdrive, surrounding your kiddos with holiday magic or travel, your little ones might need some assistance as they work to overcome the post-holiday blues and get back to their regular selves. Check out the tips below to help your family cope as you move into the New Year!

Check your expectations

One of the most frustrating post-holiday complaints of parents who have young kids is that their kids are ungrateful for everything they did to make the holidays special and everything they got for Christmas. While it’s true that kids are often extra whiny or fussy after the holidays, it’s not because they’re ungrateful or, rather, it’s because – developmentally – they really don’t have the capacity to be grateful or ungrateful. Kids live in the now and, if their now over the past few weeks has been a now full of presents, parties, and extra treats, it’s only natural that they should want that version of ‘now’ to continue.

Knowing to expect some whining and some words that sound a lot like a lack of gratitude can help parents adjust their expectations. Knowing their kiddos aren't spoiled and that, in fact, their ‘more, more, more’ attitudes are probably totally developmentally normal can also help parents avoid feeling like they’ve done something wrong or that they’re raising spoiled kids.

Be patient

Patience is a virtue and, as much as we preach it to our kids, it’s easy for us to forget when it comes to their behavior. If your kiddo starts whining or acting up post-holidays, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s normal for kids to struggle with their behavior after the holidays and that, in time and with your patience they’ll be back to their sweet-as-pie selves soon.

Hold expectations

Just because you’re being extra-patient with your kids doesn’t mean that you need need to let go of your household expectations. Holding expectations in a warm, firm manner will help your kids get back on track much more quickly than being inconsistent will. So, when we say be patient, it often means being patient AS your little one throws a tantrum about wanting more TV time, not being patient by giving in and giving them more TV time.

{ MORE: How Much Time and Attention Do Kids Need to Feel Loved and Secure? }

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Spend lots of one-on-one time

When your kid is acting up the last thing you might want to do is invite them to spend extra time with you. What they really need though, probably, is some extra one-on-one time with you. Make sure you select one-on-one activities that are quiet, connecting, and simple (like reading a book, doing a simple art project or taking a walk) so that your kiddo can focus on you and the love you’re showing them rather than the activity they are doing.

Get back into a routine

Slowly but surely, the holiday blues will pass as you get back into a routine. Many families find joy by simplifying life in January. Eat at home as much as possible, aim for an early bedtime, focus on low-key weekend activities, and don’t start any new after school or evening activities as you move back into your routine and away from the post-holiday blues!

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Does Your Child Have a Case of the Post-Holiday Blues? Here’s How to Cope!

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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