The holidays are over. You’ve cleared out the tree, taken down the decorations, escorted your relatives out of the house, gawked at your latest credit card bill and implemented your latest attempt at New Year’s resolutions.
Now all that’s left is to turn your children back into the well behaved and polite human beings they were before their grandparents spoiled them rotten during their last visit despite your precautions, admonitions and threats.
After some extended time with her grand parents our toddler has become more difficult to deal with than a cornered badger with a crack habit. She’s mysteriously learned some new words including “Juice“, “TV” and “iPad“, none of which are supposed to be in her daily diet, and she cannot bear the tragedy of being denied any desire. What happened? Grandparents, that’s what happened.
Some things will never be the same after this holiday season: that includes my All-Clad stainless steel pan that has been scratched to death by some cooking attempts by my in-laws as well and dining room carpet their dog threw-up on on… but I’d like to get my child back to her old self.
So here is papalogic’s take on how to unspoil your child after the holidays…
1. Give them some attention
After the holidays, the house can go from buzzing with activity to quiet and dreary. It’s cold outside (if you’re in the northern hemisphere at least) and Mom & Dad are back at work focused on “important things”. The sudden lack of attention from a full house of relatives or doting grand parents can be a little bit of a shock to a two year old. In our case, we’ve definitely observed some confusion and disorientation with our daughter following extended stays by family members.
As parents, we may have also deferred some the attention giving to the relatives during the holidays, so it’s important to reconnect and spend some extra time with your little ones. Read some stories together, play some games, go do an activity during the weekend and generally try to spend some quality, laid back time with them. Consider even working with them to donate some of their older toys.
2. Put them back on their schedule
Whether your child is 2 months, 2 years or 12, the first thing to often go over the holidays is their schedule. Bedtime slides, dinner time morphs into random snacks with grandpa, TV watching goes through the roof, sleep cycles are completely thrown off. While the adults may (and I stress “may”) be rested after some time off, the kids may have very well slept less and endured more stimulation than is healthy.
So getting your child back to his or her routine is a very important factor in rediscovering that sweet, amiable kid inside the irritable cranky gremlin. Putting them to bed even earlier than usual for those first few days is probably not a bad idea either so that they can catch up on some direly needed sleep.
3. Be clear to show who’s the boss
While it may be kinda cute or even funny when Grandpa tells little Bobby that he doesn’t need to listen to his parents and can do whatever he wants, the problem is that little Bobby actually believes it!
Let’s face it, grand-parents take great pleasure in undermining our authority. Just like any departed President, they like to poke holes in the new administration. Part of it is for payback for all the grief we probably caused them growing up, part of it is because they find it fun, and the biggest reason is probably that they simply cannot help themselves.
Now that everyone is gone, we need to reassert ourselves as the Pack Leader in the house (that’s right, Cesar Millan). The old rules of the house are back in effect, and that’s final. This is probably the hardest reality to absorb for your anarchist off-spring. It’s not easy reasoning with a toddler and we’ve endured a couple tantrums in getting this point across.
4. Set new rules
With the holidays generally comes change: new toy, new pet, new game, etc. If your kid (or husband) has played with their new Wii nonstop since Christmas, now is the time to set reasonable rules to regulate its use. This also help underscore point 3, above.
5. Eat healthy
Adults are not the only ones who overindulge during the holiday seasons – so do kids. Between the ginger bread cookies (and house), pies, ice creams, chocolates and candies, the crap-intake (that’s a scientific term) of children jumps during the last few weeks of the year. Now is the time for the whole family to eat healthily again. It will make everyone feel (and look better).
All this seems to be working and we’re slowly detoxing our daughter…