Just a few more days and the kids are on winter break. For three weeks. That’s right – three weeks! For many parents in these parts, that’s a terrifying idea. But around here, I’m getting pretty excited.
No, I’m not crazy. I’m just not worried about how I’m going to occupy my kids 24-7. Because you know what? I don’t have to! And you don’t, either.
In fact, you can even get in on the fun. Make this year’s winter break the best yet. No kidding! This playful parenting guide to winter break is where I let you in on what’s worked in the past to help us all stay sane and grounded during what for many is a chaotic and – let’s face it – stressful time that most parents are happy to see come to an end.
Choose to have fun.
If you remember only one item on this list, this should be it. Your intention, your attitude about the holidays and time off with the kids – they matter. A lot. So choose to make this winter break enjoyable.
I’ve got your back if you’re looking for some fun things to do. Check out 50 ways to connect with nature this winter. If you live in L.A., you might want to head to one of these best spots in Los Angeles for winter outdoor fun.
Stick to your routine, but be flexible.
Yes, the holidays are a special time of year. And yes, that may mean your days look a little different than they do during the rest of the year. But keeping to your basic family rhythm will help maintain some balance. What to focus on? Stick to the big stuff:
- Get enough sleep. This applies to you and the kiddos alike. Aim to get up and go to sleep at your usual times when you can.
- Eat healthy. Have I lost you now? Stick with me! A little indulging is part of the enjoyment of the season, but too much will leave you (and the kids) feeling less than your best.
- Stay active. Get outside! Walks are a simple way to sneak in activity during vacations and holidays.
Don’t try to do it all.
You just don’t have to! You deserve to enjoy each and every activity you take part in this holiday season, don’t you think?
One way we decide what we’re going to say “yes” to and what gets the boot is by talking about it together in advance. We each pick a few things we’d like to do during the time off. This can be anything from “see a movie” to “play more with Legos” or “go to the zoo.” We make time in our schedule for those special things before we say “yes” to anything else.
Make room for play.
Do not fear hearing the words “I’m bored!” Seriously! Boredom is actually a really good thing. It gives kids a chance to create their own fun. And they will – I promise! A few things you can do to help create a playful home environment:
- Lose some of the stuff. We’ve spent much of the past month going through toys, games and books to donate things the kids no longer play with or have simply outgrown. The result is less stuff, but more space to use what they most enjoy.
- Set limits on screen time. Let’s face it – there’s nothing remotely creative about playing on an iPad or video game. If your kids do play with electronic devices, limit that time so there’s enough mental space for good old fashioned play, too.
- Allow for down time – the more, the better. Don’t pack your schedule fearing the kids will get bored. Instead, allow for time every day for you to do absolutely nothing.
Get out of town.
Traveling during the holidays might seem like a nightmare, but hear me out. This isn’t about going somewhere extravagant or being gone for a ton of time. Think weekend getaway to a favorite spot within a couple hours’ drive. The point isn’t so much about where you go as it is about making time to connect with each other away from all the holiday craziness.