Updated: Feb 24
We hope you all had an enjoyable holiday with your family and friends.
Not very much research has been conducted to understand the emotional stress the holidays put on families, but we do know that it can be major. This was even worse in 2021 with the emergence of the Omicron COVID variant striking individuals directly, or indirectly, as air flights were canceled, families faced vaccination or non-vaccination differences of opinion, and the expectations that the world would return to normal following the Delta variation were dashed.
In the words of the movie, Jaws 2, "just when we thought it was safe to go back in the water..."
Even in a normal year the month of December is characterized by a lack of exercise, overindulging in food and drink, and, for many, a concern about the costs being incurred. Kids do not necessarily feel financial stress, but they exercise less and indulge more. The holiday finally arrives and the excitement among the children, (and the adults) makes up for the anxiety that has been its precursor. The children's eyes are shining as they open their presents. They smile. They laugh. They are having fun. And the parents and grandparents take vicarious pleasure in their joy.
Then January happens.
The weather is cold, the holiday tree was taken down, the toys are no longer new, the house cleaned but COVID remains. You are sad and depressed. Your children have no presents to look forward to and, to them, life seems rather desolate.
The first thing to know is that this feeling is normal and happens to every family including every child. This is the January blues, and the good news is that while it can be classified as depression, it is temporary and does not bode evil for the future; it is not clinical depression with long-term effects. It is a short-term phenomenon, and we can pull ourselves out of it easily. But we need to take some actions and if we do not, the blues will last longer. So do not delay.
So, what do we do? Here are nine tips
1. Talk to your children - tell them that how they feel is normal and that adults share their feelings.
2. Encourage them to get lots of sleep. Over the holidays they probably had a vast number of activities and the adrenalin alone encouraged less sleep time than usual. Early to bed as we go into January.
3. Motivate them to exercise or play sporty games - despite poor weather, play games outside. Leave the smartphone or the game console and breathe in the fresh air.
4. Inspire them to go back to a regular diet - hide the candy and ask them to help Mom or Dad cook up some of their favorite healthy dishes.
5. Get back to normal - re-introduce any activities that you stopped doing in December, e.g., children taking out the trash.
6. Encourage them to look forward to going back to school - they will meet their friends again.
7. Encourage playdates - encourage them to be active in their social life. Do it with Zoom if physical playdates are not feasible.
8. Arrange a family meeting to discuss vacations in the coming year - planning a vacation introduces an expectation of a happy time in the future.
9. As parents, relatives, or grandparents we need to reflect on what we are teaching the children. So, Grandpa, get some more sleep, Grandma, get exercising and, everyone cut back on the sweet foods and drinks! Be happy and the kids will be happy too.
Roll on February!
The Five Enchanted Mermaids celebrate diversity in our world and the belief that each child deserves to have a mermaid that looks like them. Through their individual personalities and traits, they weave stories that help teach skills for children in this age group.
The idea for the Five Enchanted Mermaids was born to provide a fun but educational backdrop for girls aged 3 to 7 years. The characters address emotional skills (making friends, resolving conflicts, coping with change, making their own choices and “being good people”) and educational skills (learning to read, the alphabet, counting, symmetrical shapes, time, value of monetary coins/notes) that are important at that age in the development of young girls.
The stories use each of the diverse mermaids as a role model for behavior and values.
LifeMadeSimple, LLC and acclaimed children’s book author, Lois Petren, are collaborating to provide a series of books, party accessories and other appropriate items as mermaid gifts for girls to support these goals.
Visit us at www.fiveenchantedmermaids.com