All throughout September to December children have a plethora of exciting celebrations to enjoy. First comes Halloween and Bonfire Night, then the whole of the Festive Season, which brings freedom from school, later bedtimes and the sweetest of all diets! However, to children this period of excitement seems to be over in the blink of an eye and it’s back to school in January already. Without another celebration in sight, all that’s left is two months of cold, dark and miserable weather. Sounding familiar to you? Yes, that’s right, children can suffer from the, very common, January Blues too. Therefore, it is important we help our children ease into ‘back-to-school’ life as smoothly as possible. Here at Marvellous Minds, we understand how difficult the transition back to school can be, so we have put together a short guide to help your children thrive this New Year! 
1. Validate your child’s feelings and really listen to them. 
Living in an adult world full of adult problems can make us susceptible to assuming a child’s problems are somewhat less than our own, leading us to constantly reassure our children that they have nothing to worry about, or dismiss their concerns completely. The reality is January is a hard month for the whole family! Help your child to understand their anxieties about school are normal. Help them to prepare for their return to school and encourage them to actively problem solve. 
 
2. Reinstate structure and routine. 
Children need routine to feel secure and to aid their social, emotional and cognitive development. In fact, most people feel happier when they have structure to their day to day lives. The festive season, however, totally overrides normal structure. Ease your children into their normal routine before the first day back to school. Reintroduce a normal bedtime and set mealtimes, encourage some educational activities or homework time and If your child has a hefty pile of homework to complete – help them to organise a timetable to make the task more manageable. 
 
3. A positive focus on health. 
January is a great time to focus on wellbeing. Stock that fridge up with fresh fruit and veg to keep your family energised during the short and dark winter days. A new back-to-school lunch box is a great way to spike your child’s interest in healthy food and a new water bottle will help make sure they want to keep hydrated! Get connected to nature! Spend time outdoors, it’s a great way to stay active, promote good mental health, and to help your child learn about the world. A short walk in your local area is all it takes! Teach your children to give back after Christmas and show them that Christmas is about more than just receiving presents. Encourage gratitude and remind your children that not everyone is lucky enough to spend Christmas in the same way. 
 
4. Time to connect. 
The Festive Period is a great opportunity to spend copious amounts of time with family, friends and loved ones. Therefore, returning to normality in January can sometimes feel lonely and confusing. Make time for family activities and maintain a strong family connection. Board games such as Scrabble are great to play with family or friends and help improve a child’s spelling and vocabulary! 
 
5. New hobbies. 
Rather than attempting to stick to unrealistic New Year’s Resolutions (which often act more as punishments), why not encourage your children to take up a new hobby? January acts as a ‘fresh start’, meaning it is the perfect chance to start something new before life gets busy again! Hobbies can keep your children’s brains stimulated and relieve the stress of everyday life. You will find your children are much happier and relaxed after partaking in an activity they enjoy! Furthermore, a hobby can be great motivation to get through a difficult day and provide something to look forward to after school. 
 
From all of us here at Marvellous Minds, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year! 
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