Winter break is a wonderful respite from the madness of the holiday season, schoolwork, and end-of-year work stress. We all get some downtime with family, lots of food, and maybe even some new memories to cherish for years to come. But we also get kids who find they are OMG SO BORED MOM before it’s halfway over.
You see, kids—whether they like to admit it or not—tend to thrive on a routine. Sure, early mornings, putting on pants, and lots of homework can be a bummer, but school means you can pretty much count on knowing how each day will go. Kids plow through a perfect balance of engaging the brain, laughing with friends, team sports or club activities they love, a middle-of-the-day meal, and an afternoon with enough unscheduled time to recover. Over and over again.
Almost two weeks of winter break this year means while there is ample opportunity to chill, play, celebrate, and sleep in, there will also come a point when they miss that routine, throwing them into a tailspin with side effects like indecision, endless hunger, antsy-ness, and the ability to lose everything they touch. Navigating this “break” as a parent means drinking up every sweet moment we can savor, while bracing ourselves during the inevitable mental countdown until we punt them back into the loving arms of their schools on January second. Here’s what you can expect to happen at some point during that countdown.
Day One: Your kids will dance with glee because WOO HOO IT’S WINTER BREAK, NO SCHOOL!
Day Two: They will either wake up before their normal alarm time or three hours after it.
Day Three: You will limit screen time because there are so many toys, games, and relatives hanging around now to play with.
Day Four: Cookies and ice cream for dinner!
Day Five: Every single child-sized glove is gone now. They’ve suddenly grown out of their winter coats, too.
Day Six: You’ll notice that your kids are more on point for school spirit week then they were on the actual theme days, for every day is Crazy Hair Day, Mis-matched Socks Day, Wear Everything Backwards Day, Pajama Day now.
Day Seven: A cuddly moment on the couch watching a family-friendly movie together that will bring tears to your eyes at how perfect this quiet moment is.
Day Eight: So. Much. Fighting.
Day Nine: Most of the pieces of every board game received that year? MIA. So is one of the hamsters.
Day Ten: Gaming and devices permissions will be granted again as long as they promise to give you some peace and quiet please just one minute of silence for the love of all that is reasonable.
Day Eleven: Your kids will be crabby about not seeing their friends in, LIKE, EIGHT YEARS, MOM, because nobody wants to interrupt anyone else’s winter break family time to beg for a playdate, despite the fact that everyone is in the exact same boat.
Day Twelve: Since they are supposed to go back to school tomorrow, a snowstorm will be forecast for 8AM the next day. Time to start planning for a snow day!