By Mike Rampton
The first half of winter is fun – the build-up to Christmas, fun jumpers, advent calendars and
10 Ways To Get Through Twixmas With Your Kids
Anticipate the mood, and be thankful
For parents, Jacobson suggests a bit of mental planning, anticipating the cyclical nature of the year – and knowing there might be a bit of a funk setting in. “If we can prepare ourselves for the fact there’s going to be a dip in energy levels, that will gear us up for it a bit,” she says. “It won’t be a surprise.”
If you add a healthy dose of mindfulness, she adds, where you approach each moment for what it is, that helps you weather the rises and falls, which can means you can be happy in the moment. Knowing you feel a little low, why not try gratitude exercises with your kids? Take time to appreciate all the fun that was had and the positives that took place over the festive period, as well as ongoing things you are grateful for.
Extend the fun of Christmas
Just because Christmas Day and Boxing Day are over, that doesn’t mean all the fun has to end. Dr Jacobson recommends trying to extend Christmas a bit for your kids, running it down slowly rather than letting it all end abruptly.
“Having a fun day out at the end of the holidays, for example, means it isn’t such a manifest drop-off,” she says. “And staging events – having things to look forward to, whether it’s a trip you’ve arranged or concert tickets, will be good for your overall wellbeing. While we recommend living in the present, we’re forward-thinking creatures. Part of our sense of purpose includes having things we enjoy looking forward to.”
Let it run down slowly, rather than letting Christmas end abruptly.
Additional fun doesn’t have to cost a lot. Here are some ideas on things to do with your kids between Christmas and new year, including creating thank-you cards and making slime.
Don’t forget about the importance of sleep
Sleep is always important. Christmas can easily involve a lot of rule-breaking, luck-pushing and shifted schedules – all of which is great fun until exhausted children feel the ground opening beneath their feet.
“Kids rack up a considerable amount of sleep debt,” Christine Carter, sociologist and happiness expert told Parents.com. “We know that as little as a decrease in 20 minutes of sleep per night, for three to five days, is enough to affect kids.”
Returning to their normal routine before going back to school or nursery is beneficial, with Jo “Supernanny” Frost suggesting: “Aim for your child’s regular bedtime a few days before you’re due back at school or nursery. If naps have gone out the window or bedtime has become later, start to pull it back. It might take your child a few days to re-adjust, so don’t leave this until the day before.”
Add a little music to your day
If you’re all feeling a little down, why not put on your favourite – or your kid’s favourite – song? A recent study by the British Association of Sound Therapy found that as little as 15 minutes of happy music per day had a measurable affect on people’s happiness. Lyz Cooper, of the association, said: “Listening to happy songs increases blood flow to areas of the brain associated with reward, and decreases flow to the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear.”
So whack some tunes on, and dance like no one’s watching.