and winter are exciting times: school starts, and at least one holiday
appears every month until January. Vacations and long week-ends abound. In
school children learn the importance of decorating appropriately for each
holiday, and their excitement seems to reach a peak in December with
celebrations at home, at school, at church, and at every organization to
which children can belong. It is difficult to sleep for thinking about
future gifts, visits from relatives, exciting foods, television specials,
church pageants and school concerts.
In fact, it is not just kids. Most people
seem to get caught up in planning and carrying out holiday activities, but
children may be more susceptible to rising excitement and expectations.
And, like adults, they experience some holiday stress. So it is not
unusual that afterward some children crash and burn in the post-holiday
These blahs may take several forms. Some
children seem moody and let down. They may suffer from having expectations
that did not match well with reality. Others seem bored and demand
amusement. Perhaps these children have gotten used to over stimulation and
cannot find ways to busy themselves. Others begin to act more
aggressively. It is almost as if they have been trying so hard to be
"good" that they have stored up several weeks worth of
"bad" behavior and want to let it all out at once.
Few children understand their own
after-holiday behavior. They do not plan to be mean and disruptive. It is
almost as though they cannot help themselves. Parents can help by not
overreacting, and by allowing a little more leeway in their expectations.
Almost everyone needs a little time to adjust to the post-holiday change
Children have spent so much time counting
down the days to a specific holiday that they feel there is little left to
look forward to. One seven-year-old bemoaned, " Twelve more months
before I can have any fun again!" That's sad comment from a child.
She may need help to see that there are many family, school, church and
other events to plan for and to look forward to. This little girl's
grandmother gave her a calendar for Christmas. On New Year's Day her
parents sat with her and filled in upcoming events. By the time they had
marked her birthday, her brother's birthday, Valentine's Day, school
holidays, the church carnival, and the county fair, she was quite excited.
It seemed to put the winter holidays in perspective.
The winter holidays are fun and exciting
but children may need some help in looking to the future. This reduces the
pressure for the winter holidays to be absolutely perfect.
Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care - NNCC.
Source: Adapted from Ann Mullis. "Because I Said So." North
Dakota State University Extension Service.