We are only 5 days away from Christmas! I don’t know about your kids, but mine seeming to have an energy explosian the closer we get! By the time we get to Christmas, they are like the Energizer Bunny–they keep going, and going, and going. . .
To combat the energy overload, my husband and I employ a few strategies.
1.) Keep our kids on their schedule. Each of our kids has a schedule. They all have set bedtimes, and the two little ones have set nap times. We try to keep these times even during holiday vacations. The little ones get cranky and whiny without their naps, making for a VERY long day for us (and them). My son, too, is more prone to temper tantrums when he stays up late. He is 6 and goes to bed by 7 p.m. (He is an early riser and generally wakes between 5 and 6 a.m.) It is tempting to stay a bit later at a party or to let him watch a holiday show, but it is best for all of us if we keep our routine.
In addition to making sure he gets enough sleep during the holidays, it is also easier to transition him back to school. Since we haven’t allowed him to stay up later during vacation, there is no resistance about going to bed earlier when it is time to go back to school in January.
2.) Do productive activities in the morning. All of our kids are early risers and are most productive in the morning. During vacation, we try to take advantage of this by doing most of our activities in the morning. We take that time to write thank you notes, have my son read books aloud, make crafts, etc. Later in the day, as their energy wanes, we might let them watch tv, but no more than they are allowed to watch on a regular school day.
3.) Keep them busy! I don’t know if all 6 year olds are like this, but my son would like to keep every scrap of paper that comes into his possession. As he shares a rather small room with his sibling, there is not much room for hoarding. We have taken a few days during the break to clean his room from top to bottom. We also take our kids out to play in the snow, go to library events, go to museums etc. We try to do at least one fun thing outside the house a day.
4.) Try to limit the sweets our kids eat. We joke that my oldest has a sugar sensitivity; as soon as he has even a bite of sugar, he is bouncing off the walls. Trying to limit his sugar intake during the holidays is difficult. In general, we will let him have a sweet right before bed if he has been good all day. (Later in the week I will post more about this, as limiting sweet consumption is challenging during the holidays)
By following these four tactics, we tame the holiday crazies and have a more relaxed, fun holiday.