Beating the Post-Vacation Blues
by Morrisa Drobnick, LCSW, staff writer and advice columnist of “KIDS Magazine”
So long, Summertime. Good-bye swim clubs, beaches, lakes, and camps! Farewell to fun.
Parents and kids alike have a tough time re-adjusting to the real-life demands of school and work. The problems of re-entry take on many forms, depending on the length of the vacation, the ages of the kids, and whether or not both parents work outside the home.
Some people resist the change of pace. People have to deal with having their time tightly structured once more. When vacation ends, kids have to be more disciplined and that creates certain tensions in the family. Making a post-vacation transition is particularly hard for those people who normally find it difficult to change from one mental state to another. They are the kind of people for whom disorganization is quite distressing.
The first part to adjustments is recognizing that there is a problem. You need to anticipate that you and your children might experience these feelings and be on your guard. Accept the fact that this is going to be a somewhat chaotic period of your life. Things will not be under control. The kids are going to be crabby. There will be much complaining. It is easier if it is predictable because it feels less out of control.
If you are the kind of person who does have trouble with transitions, do not come back from vacation on Sunday and go to work Monday. Give yourself time to adjust gradually instead of whizzing through all of your lists at top speed. Children need extra time, not to mention extra attention.
Daily rituals can help us feel calm. The nighttime bath, story-time, a little TV can develop the sense of order and security. Start order in your children’s lives a week or so before school begins. Remember that gradual change may be less stressful for kids.
Attitudes are contagious. I believe in the power of positive thinking. If you think it’s terrific to be going back to work, the kids will like going back to school. (Well, maybe not!) The point is to accentuate the positive. Put more play in your daily life. Do things you really enjoy. Let your kids do things they really enjoy. Do not save all your fun for vacation is the end of having fun. Plan a fun family event for during the first few weeks of September to help prolong the relaxed Summertime spirit.