Avoid the Christmas holiday slump with our top tips for keeping you and your family active over the festive season.
We’re probably all familiar with a slump in mood during the Christmas holidays, but did you know Christmas fatigue and the January doldrums are actual real things, driven by hormones? The highs and lows of Christmas preparation, anticipation and participation generate powerful hormones which play an important part in mood and can suppress our immune system. Being tired can affect our confidence, happiness, perspective and ability to focus. Help your children (and yourself) avoid Christmas fatigue and the impending January doldrums to arrive back at school focused and ready for a positive start to the New Year.
This article was first published in 2016 and has been amended to include covid-safe activities.
1. Keep gently busy
- Involve the children in planning, preparing and clearing up after your meals and holiday activities. They’ll feel useful and enjoy working together.
- Ask the kids to organise a family film afternoon – choose the film, agree a time, arrange the room and prepare snacks.
- Build a fort, rocket or pellet-shooting robot out of discarded packaging.
- Ask the children to pick out a couple of toys and books they no longer use (as they make room for their new presents) and take them to the local charity donation point.
- For more inspiration, take a look at the fun activity ideas on our Christmas activity pages.
2. Have a rest
Don’t shy away from a quick power nap during the festive season! Even if your children left afternoon naps behind years ago, some quiet time on their beds with a comic, puzzle or book (no screens) can help rebalance energy levels after a string of late nights. Curling up with the kids and a good book can feel like a real treat.
3. Get moving
Even just five minutes outside in the garden, doing the recycling, or feeding the birds each morning can have a positive impact on energy levels. Follow up with 30 minutes gentle exercise (a walk, scavenger hunt or run) later in the day to release those feel-good endorphins that improve your mood.
4. Get out and get exploring
There are lots of free outdoor activities you can do, local tier guidelines permitting. Create a scavenger hunt, take a walk through the park, woods or along the beach. Remember to socially distance from any other people who have had the same idea.
Watch this video for ideas on how to sneak some learning into a family walk.
5. Organise some family fun
- Organise a virtual family quiz, and involve family members you wouldn’t usually get to see at Christmas.
- Have a family game of consequences to inspire creativity and humour.
- Build a reading den, do some baking, or create your own musical instruments and share some music.
6. Other golden rules to avoid fatigue
- Keep hydrated. It can be difficult, but make sure everyone’s drinking water through the day.
- Get some fresh air – feed the ducks, challenge each other to a race in the park.
- Eat breakfast. Try to include protein in the form of milk, eggs or yoghurt.
- Keep regular sleep patterns – try not to let the kids have more than a couple of really late nights in a row.
- Have a really, really good stretch!
More from Oxford Owl
- Fun learning ideas for 0–3-year-olds
- Fun learning ideas for 4-year-olds
- Fun learning ideas for 5-year-olds
- Fun learning ideas for 6-year-olds
- Fun learning ideas for 7-year-olds
- Fun learning ideas for 8-year-olds
- Fun learning ideas for 9-year-olds
- Fun learning ideas for 10-year-olds
- Fun learning ideas for 11-year-olds