Transitioning your kids from vacation to “real life” is hard, but these four ideas may make the merger enjoyable and beneficial for your family!
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Welcome to TLP, I’m Aaron, and today we’re discussing how to refocus your family after the holidays. Some of your kids have probably gone back to school, and -- no doubt -- there are others of you still on vacation. But all of us are going to experience the same struggle: trying to motivate our homes back into real life. Seriously, we just spent how many weeks eating and watching and playing and sleeping and visiting . . . and none of our lives actually work that way.
In fact, you’ll be shocked and saddened to find out that suicide rates are at their highest right after vacations and major holidays. People spend their whole year preparing for this event, and it comes and goes, and they’re left thinking, “Is that it? Is this all there is?”
And, though those of us who know God shouldn’t struggle with those thoughts, we’re still human, and getting back into the swing of things has never been our favorite pastime.
So, in order to do just that, I want to give you 4 ideas to get the new year started on the right foot.
Number 1 -- start real life now. For those of you who -- like I -- are still on vacation, don’t skip real life. You and your family shouldn’t take a break from devotions. Whether you’re at home or in a motel, chores and personal hygiene are vital to staying healthy and comfortable. And though it may be acceptable to have a movie marathon over break, that shouldn’t be all you do. Get a start on those personal enrichment resolutions you made for yourself or lead your family in a community service opportunity. “Starting real life now” also goes for what you eat. Yes, by all means, enjoy your food, but whether you’re eating or drinking, you need to glorify God. There shouldn't be a drastic difference between your vacation and post-vacation food intake. Even if you’re eating out, you should be taking care of the temple of God.
Number 2 -- talk about real life now. Most of us with young children know how valuable it is to give your children count downs. “We’ll be leaving the park in about 5 minutes kids.” “We’re going to leave in just 4 minutes.” “Alright, you have 3 more minutes. Get a few more slides in.” And so on. This is very valuable during vacation too. Don’t announce pointless things every minute, but at least once a day your should focus on the upcoming week. And don’t discuss it like a threat. Saying to your teenage, “Hey, don’t forget about school next week,” isn’t going to lighten her spirits. But you could say, “I’m looking forward to helping you more this year in your homework. I think we can bring your English grade up from first semester.” Just like we talked about on Episode 16, your ability to successfully implement your New Year’s resolutions hangs in part on keeping it clearly communicated. Start that process now, so it doesn’t seem like bettering ourselves is something we only do in the doldrums of “normal” life.
In order to refocus your family, you need to make sure you're living elements of “real life” now. You should also discuss post-vacation ideas to help prepare everyone mentally for the end of break. Number three is for when the holidays are officially over. For some of you, you’re already there, and you wish you’d known to do the first two things, but you can’t go back in time because your brother-in-law bought you sweater instead of a time machine. But that’s okay. Where I work, at Victory Academy of Boys, our students finish off their vacations by leaving home and going back to a boys’ home in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. They won’t see their families again for months, and they have to put up with me of he rest of the semester. I don’t have the chance to do steps one and two with them, all I have is when they walk in the door.
So, number 3 -- continue the fun now. Sure, breaks over and school’s back in session. I know you have to work. But that doesn’t mean your family should stop hanging out, having special meals, or enjoying each other. Few people do “cold turkey” very well, and this is no exception. I suggest tapering off the family-fun as slowly as possible. To be honest, some of our families need to ramp it up anyway. I suggest you listen to Episode 8 because many people need to learn to make their family time work better. If your family time over vacation was 100, and your daily life should be no lower than 40, then taper off the festivities over the course of the first week back and try to find a new average -- preferably one that involves spending more time together than you did last year.
And lastly, number 4 -- you need to transition with a good attitude now. We are the leaders, we’re the models, we’re the pace setters. Do not end break off complaining about work on Monday. Do not have a bad attitude! Praise God in front of your children about the blessings of a secure job and a good education. Be proactive, be excited about real life. Should our families be allowed to loath God’s will for their lives? Of course not! But we do it so often when we get all depressed because we’ve reached the dreaded last day of vacation. Set the standard for your house. Be the example.
Of course, this takes a premeditated plan. Figure out what chores and service opportunities need to be done. Plan for some more aggressive family time once break ends, and prepare yourself spiritually to be the example you need to be as you enter the most exciting part of the year . . . tomorrow.
If you’d like some help refocusing your family this year, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com. You can also check us out at TruthLoveParent.com for help in becoming more like Christ.
And you’re always invited to engage with us over Social Media: Just search "Truth Love Parent" on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter (also @AMBrewster).
Happy New Year!
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