Winter Break Blues

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Bored kids laying on the couch.As the most wonderful time of the year comes to a close, we sadly watch as unused wrapping paper is rolled up and stored away, holiday trinkets that adorned every shelf or table are being brought to the garage until next year, and the Christmas tree now takes up space on the curb outside our homes. 

The anticipation of the holidays takes us on a magical journey that feels like a dream, but as we all know, this dream must end.

This marks the end of a magical holiday season and ushers in hopes and wishes for a fabulous new year. However, before we break out the noisemakers and confetti, we must acknowledge that it can also welcome a long, cold, uneventful season where the snow no longer glistens. The holiday music becomes a distant memory.

We all handle the departure of the holidays in different ways. Some take all their decorations down and close up shop in one day. Others take it slow, sit by the tree lights at night, and enjoy what’s left of the year. Some folks celebrate Little Christmas and continue the festivities as if December 25 is still here. However, no matter the scenario, we eventually get over it and start living our lives again (minus candy canes and cheesy Christmas movies).

The days after that may bring your attention to details that will surely remind you that the holidays are indeed a thing of the past. For instance, the cashier at the supermarket you frequent has lost her smile and no longer offers complimentary coupons. You’ll also know the magic has ceased to exist when you ask your kids to set the table for dinner, and they barely look up from their devices – a sign that the Elf on the Shelf is long gone and no longer has power over your kiddos leaving you to face reality.

The next order of business is occupying your kids for the remainder of the Winter Break. Some families manage this brilliantly by packing up and heading south to a warmer climate like Florida or the islands for a post-holiday vacation. No matter the circumstances, this can be a tedious time for parents. The days are long, and we can only do so much to fill the time.

The infamous “snow day” has lost its appeal. Kids usually feel the boredom creep in within days of the holidays ending. Everything seems to lose its flair. Waking up in the morning and rushing through breakfast to get to the sledding hill has now been replaced with reluctantly rolling out of bed, taking more time than necessary to eat their morning munchies (a big bowl of sugar-infused cereal), and spending the day on the couch gazing at the TV or iPad.

Unfortunately, electronics are sure to get a lot more love from our kids because the idea of snowboarding and ice skating has lost its shimmer. The sleds that used to be scattered about are now leaning up against the shed, untouched, where they will most likely remain until spring. Not only does the Winter Break take a toll on our kids, but it can do a number on us parents. Getting our kids off the couch and into the car for an activity becomes a chore. Reminding them that they haven’t changed out of their pj’s (still Christmas themed) in days becomes old and tiresome.

A week of inactivity is non-productive and can bring an unwanted case of couch potato syndrome.

Kids need to be stimulated, and even if they say that their happiness is at home, catching up on Netflix and video games, there’s a good chance they are secretly missing school. The reality of not having to attend was as sweet as gumdrops, but the school can’t get here quickly enough post-holidays. Not only do our little ones want to return to their friends and routine, but our parents share that sentiment.

If you work from home, prepare yourself for the possibility of getting behind on your workload. You may even have to lock the door to your office space to prevent one of your youngsters from wandering in wearing only a t-shirt and underwear while in the middle of a zoom meeting! Having kids around the entire day will surely be enough to push your stress levels into high gear. Luckily, there are many ways to keep our kiddos busy during their time off.

Google will become your new go-to for things to do locally. If you’re on Facebook, there are many clubs you can join to meet other local parents and set up play dates or coffee (hot chocolate for the kids). Ice hockey is another great activity where they can spend the day at a nearby rink. Use a buddy system to prevent the “I’m bored and cold” complaints. If your kids have someone to skate with, it’s likely the temperature won’t even phase them. If that’s not their thing, indoor trampoline parks are a great way to keep your kiddos occupied and promote exercise. 

Snow tubing is an oldie but a goodie. Nothing like sliding down a snowy hill backward to get your little one’s adrenaline going. You can even go the simple and cozy route by taking your youngsters to your local library. Sit on squishy bean bags and read a few books before topping the afternoon off at Starbucks for cake pops and a warm drink!

Before you know it, the kids will be back at school, and you’ll welcome your sanity back. You may even get the TV to yourself for an hour or so now that it’s idle. We can all agree that the winter months are rough, but if we bunker down and cut ourselves some slack in the process, the return of spring will be that much sweeter. Cheers to that!

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