Christmas time is
here gone. Can you believe it? You may have already cleared out your tree and decorations this weekend. Or maybe you’re waiting until the new year. Regardless, your home and family find themselves in a transition. Transition means change and with it comes many challenges. Upon reflection the past few days, here’s what I’ve experienced regarding challenges of post-Christmas parenting.
1. Keeping Jesus as a Focus
I love that Christmas and Advent provide a daily opportunity to bring Christ to the forefront of our lives. You see nativity scenes and your children start talking about the Christmas story. Singing Christmas carols shares about the importance of Christ’s birth. There’s constantly a teaching opportunity around you. Once Christmas passes, these opportunities fade as decorations and lights slowly return to their boxes and attics.
Yet we can use Epiphany to continue intentionally pointing our children to Christ. Consider doing an Epiphany devotional with your children at the beginning of the year. I had such a good time with my children last year that I wrote Experiencing Epiphany to be intentional about sharing Christ with my kids during Epiphany. Click here to buy the printable PDF.
2. Sugar Sugar Sugar
A lot of sugar entered our house this holiday – with December birthdays, Christmas parties, gifts, stockings, etc. Candy canes galore popped out from the woodworks any place we went during December. With candy and treats in such high demand, I’m always hearing “Can I have a piece of ____?” or “What’s for dessert?” or name your favorite request. And we still have a lot of sweets floating around the house.
In order to alleviate this problem, I did a few things:
- set some candy aside to pull out later in January or use for Valentine’s treats
- let my kids pick out 3 “bigger” treats and 10 “little” treats to keep
- decided who they should give the left over candy to and made cards for them
This proved to be a helpful solution, as it gave them the freedom to chose what special treats they wanted to keep, while limiting over-indulgences and unhealthy snacking. (And as for the rest of the excess energy, we’ve been heading to the park to play!)
3. Stimulation Overload
December always provided a plethora of activities for us to participate in as a family – school programs, Christmas parties, holiday events, community activities, and outings with friends. Whenever we wanted to get out of the house to do something, I could do a quick google search and find a handful of family-friendly events we could participate in (and most of them were free). The kids always had something simulating their little minds and bodies.
Now that the holidays are over, I find more of a lull in our daily routine. But this isn’t a bad thing. As the activities of the holidays die down, we can focus on free play at home, spending time together, using our creativity more, and just slowing down.
The art of slowing down allows your kids to entertain themselves and create their own entertainment with what they have on hand. Contentment without always being entertained is something adults can also take note of.
4. Lack of Structure
Children love structure. They may not be able to articulate it, but structure is where they thrive. Try doing snack time before you go to the gym to workout instead of after you come back (the time you always have snack time) and your child will quickly let you know “that’s not when we eat our snacks.”
However, the holidays innately bring a temporary lapse in your normal structure. School isn’t in session. Bedtime likely fluctuates each night. The presence of family and friends changes the way “normal” activities are done. Perhaps your spent the holidays in someone else’s house with different norms and rules.
As you enter the new year, look at how to recalibrate the family rhythm. Be intentional about what time you eat dinner or what time the kids go to bed. Make sure that naps happen (even if you have to say NO to a few activities.)
Re-creating a structure within your daily rhythm will help your kids function better, and as a result you will function better as a parent. My husband and I intentionality focused on recalibrating this past week after Christmas, and it has been great for us all.
5. Getting Active
During the holidays, I am guilty of allowing my kids to watch a bit more TV than they normally do. It’s easy to do with all the fun holiday specials, nostalgic Christmas movies, cartoons catered towards Christmas, and movies like Veggie Tales that help emphasize the true meaning of Christmas. And if you live in an area where it’s super cold outside and dark at 4pm (like we do), turning on the television turns into an easy fallback for entertainment.
However, all the time on the couch proves to be bad for kids and adults alike. Look for opportunities to get yourselves active as a family. Go to a mall and walk several laps before taking your kids to the play place. Go to a Chik-fil-a or McDonalds and utilize the play areas to burn off some energy (just make sure to get apples and yogurt, not fries and burgers). Find ways to get everyone in the family moving — not just the kids. My husband and I are always looking for new ideas, so feel free to share them in the comments below!
These are just a few of the post-Christmas challenges of parenting that we have been dealing with recently. Perhaps you have some other ones that you’d like to share below. Feel free to chime in…we’re all in this together.