Getting Back Into the Swing of Things After Christmas and the Holidays

Christmas and the holidays come and go with a flurry of excitement. Our children have encountered cheerful seasonal decorations, visits with relatives and friends, and a departure from their normal schedules. Arriving back at school after an extended break may be accompanied with separation anxiety, slower-than-usual movements while getting ready for school, or all-out confusion when faced with routine tasks. Adults may find themselves feeling curious about the fact that their child was able to master tasks three weeks ago, and is now struggling.

Consider the following when planning to go back to school:

  • Re-set your child’s normal bedtime if you have strayed from it. Changes in schedules happen; especially, when Great Aunt Barbara who is only in town at Christmas wants “just ten more minutes with the little ones.”
  • Break tasks into smaller chunks for your child. Getting dressed prior to the Christmas and holiday break may have included putting on shoes. To scaffold your child, tell them to get dressed, and then tell them to put on their shoes.
  • If you don’t already have a picture schedule for routines, consider implementing one in your home. Pictures of children engaged in activities work best; however, there are a number of routine ClipArt icons on the web. Loving Guidance also sells Routine and Responsibility cards. For a sneak peak, please visit the following link: These cards function in a similar manner that “To Do” lists do for adults!
  • Remember to include choice when a choice exists. Not brushing your teeth is not a choice, but making the choice between two shirts is.
  • Allow for a little extra time on the first few days back in routine. Planning ahead will save everyone from moments of extreme frustration.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is to focus on what you want the child to do. Focusing on what you want your child to do sounds like, “It’s time to get dressed.” versus, “Stop playing in the bathroom and come get ready.” The first statement is succinct, and tells the child what to do. The second statement calls attention to playing in the bathroom, and “get ready” most likely is not liable to register in a child’s brain after over two weeks of being out of routine.

We wish you well as you get back into the swing of things!

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