• Dr. Luisa Bryce

3 tips for A+ January success


ROUTINE, ROUTINE, ROUTINE

Once New Year’s has come and gone, begin picking up the pieces and start implementing a little structure into your kiddos’ final days at home. Children benefit greatly from routine, and getting a head start can help them to feel both physically and mentally prepared to return to school. Start by turning back bedtime by 30-45 minutes each night until you reach  your children’s regular bedtime. This will ensure your entire family can get a good night’s sleep leading up to the return to school. Begin cutting down on screen time as well so your kiddos don’t go into total withdrawal when they hit the books again (we recommend allowing only 15-30 minutes more screen time per day than is typically allowed on a normal school day). Finally, get rid of the last of the holiday cookies and treats, reassemble regular mealtimes, and make healthy snacking a habit in 2014. Check out Parenting.com for innovative snacking ideas.

GET SOME FRESH AIR

Yes, we know it’s cold. And we realize bundling the kids up can take a tremendous amount of time and effort, but a little fresh air and vitamin D can boost the whole family’s spirits. Go for a short walk, have a snow angel contest, or organize a simple scavenger hunt in the yard (have the kids look for a certain number of items such as pine cones, small stones, or whatever might be native to your neighborhood). Fresh air, sunshine, and exercise are natural antidepressants and can reset your emotional clock. Getting outside for a bit is also likely to reduce sibling conflict and help everyone sleep better. We guarantee everyone will be in a more positive mood with just a quick 15-30 minute outdoor excursion.

SCHEDULE FAMILY FUN

January can feel long, boring, and quite mundane after an event-packed December. Schedule a family fun event halfway through the month to give everyone something to look forward to. It doesn’t have be outrageous or expensive, but it can serve as a motivator and will help to break up the monotony of winter. Plan a family day to see a matinee (you can bring your own snacks), schedule a night to make homemade pizza together, or organize an outing to a new sledding hill or ice rink. If the fam can’t agree on an activity, have everyone write down an idea and pick out of a hat. Get out the calendar and schedule an activity once every three weeks, twice a month, or as often as once a week. Planning events together will increase the likelihood they’ll actually happen and will build and strengthen family relationships.

What’s your secret for an A+ January? Feel free to share it with Harmony At Home!

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