Holiday Ho-down 2010
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The Ho-ho-ho-Down: What to do about winter break?!

If idyllic images of cherubic children playing board games and sipping hot cocoa  sitting amongst a crackling fire are how you envision your child’s winter break from school, then I’ve got some ice-cold facts that will stop you dead in your tracks. 

Ah…wouldn’t it be nice if that is how things went, really?!  I”m with ya.  I would love to crawl into that vision myself.  Only I would add snow falling softly from the gray-filled sky and the smell of bread baking.  A good book.  Happy, non-bickering children. 

As a child, I loved winter break.  I loved the magical days that followed the even more magical beginning…playing with friends, new toys, and having days without school.  Now that I am a mom myself, I can look back at that time and realize that perhaps my mother didn’t love it as much as I did. 

In some ways, it seems down-right dumb to give kids all of this down time right after a major holiday.  Sure, we all need to decompress a bit and kids do need a break from school (just as parents need a break from work), but it’s just not possible to get everyone on the same “decompression schedule.”  Kids are wound-up tighter than a tick, the candy and sugar are a’flowin’, and mom and dad’s stress levels are a’risin’! 

If you haven’t started thinking about what to do with your little elves over winter break, it’s time to start–even if you are a full-time-at-home parent.  Here are some suggestions to get you going:

  • Look at your local park district or community ed guide for some “winter break camps.”  Ours has a variety of arts/crafts, gymnstics, indoor “day” camps, even music camp.
  • The YMCA often offers things of this ilk, as well.
  • Schedule out several days worth of playdates with friends you just don’t get to see often enough due to everyone’s busy schedule.
  • Plan a movie day.  You can stay in or go out.  If you stay in, let the kids pick the movie, close all of the curtains, pop some popcorn, and get into PJs.  Make it your “goal” to just snuggle and watch movies.  You can be productive tomorrow.
  • Head out to a Bouncy place on another day.  Buy two rounds of admission if you have to.   Bring a book, a friend, or your laptop (maybe some headphones) and let ’em wear themselves out!
  • As for mom and dad–get a sitter during the daytime.  Head to a bookstore or take a winter stroll in the woods followed by chatting at a coffee shop.  Put the kids to bed early and play a game of Scrabble next to the fireplace.  It’s almost like having an entire kid-free day!
  • Make the time to get down on the floor with your little sweeties and do whatever it is they have their heart set on.  Try it for 15 minutes…extend it into 30….see how long you can go at 15 minute increments.  You just may end up having fun!
  • If you are a working-outside-of-the-home parent, I am sure you already have the details all squared away. Hopefully, you have been able to carve out some time for those unforgettable moments they–and you–will cherish for a lifetime. 

Send me your ideas on what you plan to do with your little pumpkins over the break and they just may show up on a future blog post!

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