These family activities can help get everyone refocused after the indulgence of the holiday season.
It’s that time of year again, right after the holidays, when there is a calm after the storm of busyness, overspending, and saying “yes” to way too much. I start asking myself, “How do I get my family back to normal?” I have found three key areas for attention to get the focus back on what is truly important.
After all the gifts have been opened, the challenge always seems to be where to put everything. Things have come in, but nothing has gone out. This makes clean-up time very difficult for my kids because nothing seems to have a place anymore. It is time to start purging. I begin by going through drawers, closets and toy areas to remove any extra or unnecessary items. Usually the first things to go are any duplicates or items that aren’t being used. It’s a great time to donate and begin pulling together a pile for consignment sales or Craigslist. Why not make a few dollars on your old stuff?
The next step is to give everything a home by limiting what comes in the house and making sure my three kiddos can easily put their items away. They know where everything goes because we have a place for each item: a Lego bin, a sock container, tubs for markers, colored pencils, and so on. If my kids know where their toys and things go, and there are less of them, asking them to clean up is so much easier. I apply this same principle to the other rooms in the house, closets, the kitchen and our play room.
Take care of our bodies and our budget
No more junk food! I feel like the holidays is a license to eat terribly. Between holiday parties and quick dinners out, eating at home can be difficult. Once we begin the New Year, not only are my husband and I getting back on the normal eating track, but so are my kids. (Sometimes I think they need a sugar detox after all the holiday treats — anyone else feel that?)
Planning meals and managing grocery spending is a great way to tackle both body and budget. If I have meals planned out, we eat out less and we are much more likely to eat healthy foods. I do a pantry challenge, which is basically seeing how long I can eat at home without going to the grocery store. This can sometimes be a challenge with kids so I have to make sure my choices are kid-friendly. For a while, my only purchases will be fresh produce and staple items. This goes hand in hand with eating at home, so it’s a great opportunity to reconnect after the hustle and bustle with my family and just “be.”
In addition to poor eating habits, another thing to go during the busy holiday season is my commitment to exercise. Between the kids and my business, finding time to workout is a challenge. But it is something I feel is incredibly important to my ability to be a balanced and happy mom. January gives me a little more time, especially for myself. I have to make sure that my workouts are doable and don’t get eaten up by driving time. The past year I have chosen to ditch the gym and try online steaming workouts. This has been a lifesaver — I can work out anytime and at my own convenience.
TIP: Check out this guide to healthy eating.
Being creative with “yes”
Right after the holidays, my kids are still on that high of a flurry of activity and me saying “yes” to just about everything we are reasonably able to do. This usually involves upping the budget to allow for special activities and treats. I don’t mind doing this at all because it makes the holidays fun. However, rolling into the New Year can be hard because my kids are used to all the extras. I have to be creative in how I say “yes” when I am trying to get a handle on our budget. Some of my favorite ways to say “yes” but stick to our budget include:
- Family games. One of our favorite things to do after dinner is to play games. Just pull out some games, a dessert and huddle around the table or couch. Some of our favorite family games are Apples to Apples and Sleeping Queens. This is a fun way for us to interact as a family without leaving the house or spending a penny. We usually end up having a blast.
- Get outside. Just like I have a need for physical activity, so do my kids and they usually don’t care if it’s cold outside. We just bundle up and head to the nearest park and walk the trail as long as we can take it. They love it! It’s a great way to burn off that energy and get out those “wiggles.”
- Use the library. If it’s a little too cold outside, but you want to get out and not spend any money, head to your local library. You’ll find some great weekend activities for kids. Kids asking to head to the movies? Save a ton by renting your favorites for FREE at your local library.