January is here and the holidays are gone. If you're anything like me - the holidays were filled with themes and activities, with excitemnet and anticipation. Now that January is here it's easy to feel some burnout.
We have been overstimulated with all the sights, sounds, people, and different routines. All of it very exciting, but sometimes leaving us a bit depleted.
It's a good time to consider how this effects our children too. Littles don't have the ability to understand or express feelings of overstimulation and burnout - but it's definitely there. You may notice meltdowns, being bored in the midst of new toys, whining and discontentedness, restless or disrupted sleeping patterns, excessive clinging, and lethargy. These can all be symptoms of overstimulation and the inability to express their needs.
Sometimes, our tendency as a parent is to jump right into a new planner and schedule for the new year... To hit the ground running, so to speak. But sometimes we just need to stop and take the time for physical and mental health. Our little ones need to see us do this too. We want them to grow into adults who are healthy and strong, right?
3 things you and your little can do to re-energize for the new year:
Connection - Simply taking some one-on-one time with your child can make a world of difference. Let them know that you are 100% focused on them with eye contact, active listening, long hugs and physical contact, by putting your phone away, and ignoring distractions. This time with you will help them feel grounded and safe.
*If you have multiple children, try to "schedule" an hour or two with each child. They all have different needs and this one-on-one time is so special.
Physical Health - 3 things we always try to adjust when we are out of sync
Diet - Excercise - Sleep
Put up the holiday cookies and candies. Get the out the fruits and veggies. Go for a walk or do an indoor dance party. Take naps and get back to a regular bedtime routine. It's amazing how much these three things effect the way we are feeling... Especially for little growing bodies
Structure - Not planning, not more activities... structure is knowing what to expect next. A simple flexible rhythm to your days. Littles (much like grown-ups) feel safe and secure when they know what to expect in a day. The more regular days you have, the more secure they will feel.
Download DIY Sensory Play Recipes Below
We talk a lot about sensory play and it's benefits here. This is the perfect time to add some sensory play to your day.
Try adding multiple textures - Observe your child and see which ones are their favorites.
If your little really likes messy play and things to squeeze, make some slime together or sensory balloons.
If your little really likes scooping, sifting, and pouring, try a bean box with cardboard tubes to fill and slide the beans through.
If your little likes to make noise and gets really loud, try giving them bubbles to blow or make a kazoo to blow on.
Sensory play can be a wonderful way to get some needed sensory input and also calm overstimulated senses. You can turn down the lights, play some soft music, and practice mindfulness. Start your new year healthy and strong - physically and mentally.
And last but never least - don't forget to play today!