The last months of the year can be a bit overwhelming for parents and children alike. There is so much to do, so much to see, hear and experience. First came fall break. Then Halloween. If you’re living in the north of the Netherlands you may have celebrated Sint Maarten, and less than a few days later Sinterklaas arrived. He barely got back to Spain before your child’s classroom was decorated for the Christmas celebrations. Then winter break came all it’s festivities…
A time which can be unsettling; the normal routines become more flexible, both in school and at home. Children can become more restless, jumpy and disobedient. And nervous; ‘what presents will I get this year?’.
But now it’s all passed us, and it will take almost 5 weeks before the next festivity. Phew! Time to get back to normal!
Here are some suggestions that may help you getting back to normal:
- Review the rules and routines in your home; are they still relevant in the New Year? Is there still a good reason for having the rule or routine the way it is? Does your partner agree with you?
When you have a good reason for having a rule or routine, it will be easier to convince yourself and your child to stick to it.
- Reflect on the last year, what went well – parenting wise – and what would you like to change?
If you have made any parenting resolutions for the New Year, ask yourself if you can implement the change in the form of a routine or rule – that way it will be easier to remember them, preventing them from becoming a resolution again next year.
When implementing a new rule or routine, be clear to your child about your new expectations and consider using visuals to remind yourself and your child. Visual methods have the extra benefit of not being personal – so you cannot be blamed for being a strict / stupid / boring / etc. parent if it is not you but the visual that reminds your child to do something.
- Take it easy
It is still winter time, it is dark early and you do not feel like going out in the cold anymore. Neither does your child. After all the excitement and stress of the last months, it is ok to slow down and spend more time at home the first month of the year. And it will help you get back to normal!
- Expect some pushback
After all these fun times with more flexible routines; staying up later than normal, getting presents, not having to go to school or elsewhere, and enjoying time with family, getting back into the routines of daily life can be disappointing and is certainly less fun than not having the routines. As a result, there may (will) be some pushback when you first start to reinstall normal life. Remember that in the end, ‘normal’ will be better for your child’s development and overall wellbeing, their feeling of safety, and – not unimportantly – your own sanity.
Need some help getting back to normal? Let us know if you just want to talk things over or if you would like to get some in debt suggestions!