Easing the Post Holiday Transition

“Our children are counting on us to provide two things: consistency and structure. Children need parents who say what they mean, mean what they say, and do what they say they are going to do.”
-Barbara Coloroso

Have you ever handled a whip before? How about a rolled up towel? Of course I’m not asking if it was used as an instrument of attitude adjustment, just, you know, to make a cracking noise.

Anyway, if you have then you will know just how to make it crack painfully loud. For those who don’t, here are the basics: first let the object you are whipping with build up some momentum in a particular direction, and then yank it back as sharply and quickly as you can in the opposite direction.

In a whip or a towel that will really make it POP! In a martial arts move, it will massively increase the impact of the blow or the throw. In a child coming out of two weeks of “laissez-faire” over the holidays, it will make life a living torment for everyone involved.

To avoid this undesirable result, try a few of these tips:

Start Weaning Early
The earlier you start chucking out the chocolates, reining in the gaming time, and regulating the lights out/rise and shine times, the better. Using the space between New Years and their back to school day should do it.

Be Consistent
This will be as much of a test for you as it will be for them. Shifting the momentum slowly vs. quickly still takes the same amount of effort, it is just spread out. Any slip in the forward progress will cause a slide back and mean more work for everyone. Channel your inner drill sergeant and hop to it!

Communicate the Why
Take the time to explain what has happened and what you are trying to do for your kids so that they do not see you as doing something to them. This will make this particular job easier as well as help them to learn to better self regulate in the future.

The holidays are an important break time for families and provide a much needed opportunity to unwind. By staying on top of your children’s behaviour and making an effort to get them to gradually tighten up their game before school starts again you will be helping to ensure that they, and you, don’t start the year off unraveled.

About the Author:
Richard Verlaan is a martial arts instructor, writer, husband, and father of two based in Toronto, Ontario. For over 22 years he has been coaching adults, kids and parents to be their best through the attitude, philosophy, and physical training involved in martial arts. Annually he teaches well over 5000 students through his own school as well as through workshops and seminars at TDSB, TCDSB, and private schools. Known as an engaging teacher, he is also works with adults at his studio as well as in his work in corporate training, life skills, and executive coaching. His studio website is www.yorkama.com.

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