Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day. –Sally Koch
I look forward to seeing many families at the 3rd and 4th grade play, Once Upon a Housetop, this evening. I am proud of the hard work of our students and teachers to prepare for this performance.
This time of year can be very hectic for many of us as we approach the holiday break. While it can bring a great deal of joy, it can also be overwhelming at times. As we explore “self-control” as our word of the month, I wanted to share some tips that may help your family regain some of the joy of this time of year and find moments of rest and rejuvenation. In the book, Thrivers, Michele Borba discusses how we can strengthen our attention and focus to excel in other areas of our lives. On page 116, she offers the acronym FOCUS to “reduce attention robbers,” but I think this also applies to how we manage stress and energy this time of year. Using this acronym can also help us model healthy behavior and boundaries for our children. Below, I have adapted her points for this season of life:
F - Food. This time of year is full of yummy, sweet treats and opportunities to socialize around food. While we should all enjoy these opportunities, it is important to model a healthy relationship with food and snacking. Minimizing sweet treats (while still indulging) and caffeinated or energy drinks helps manage how we feel this time of year.
O - Overscheduled. We all live busy lives and manage school, work, and afterschool activities for our families. This time of year adds social engagements and/or visiting/hosting family. It is okay to set boundaries and turn down invitations. Even if it’s only one, this can help us feel less stressed. Your children will benefit from knowing it is okay to say no to events or obligations that don’t serve them well.
C - Computers/Screens. Maintain your expectations around screen usage this time of year. The family tradition of watching certain holiday movies might be something to look forward to, though you might choose to have that movie night on the weekend to help maintain your family’s healthy screen habits.
U - Unrealistic Expectations. This goes hand-in-hand with being overscheduled, but your house does not need to have every decoration up, and you do not have to attend every event. Managing your family’s, and your own, expectations and time is vital this time of year.
S - Sleep Deprivation. Managing our children’s sleep habits can be a full-time job during the rest of the year, but it can be even more challenging during the holiday season. Sticking to your routines, even over the break, will help your entire family have a more enjoyable break.
I hope you will enjoy the last week of school and the final push to an extended break.