The most wonderful time of the year can be challenging for children due to school breaks, holiday festivities, family events, and the many changes in schedules overall. It is important to remember that routines help many of us stay calm and organized. Life is predictable with routine. The unknown and unpredictability can throw many people into a stressed state (adults and kids alike). It is very important to keep this in mind when we look at our children in order to better understand the reasons for their behaviors. They may have compromised behavior, but know that it is a temporary state…the behaviors that you know and love may be on vacation. Vacations are temporary. Although we may not know how long this “behavior vacation” will last, knowing that there is an end in sight can also help you maintain your own mental health. With the down time and lack of structure, consider if it is better for your child to have that unstructured down time, or if they need some structure put back into their days off. You can make a quick list of activities for the day. It doesn’t have to include absolutely everything you are doing, but it can help with predictability. Have your child help you make the list if it is appropriate. Think about additional activities that might help structure or fill their day (at home or in the community), such as crafting, cooking, going to an indoor or outdoor play area, games, having an indoor picnic or campout, setting up an obstacle course, etc. Some of the things can be done together as a family, and other things can be done independently. It is the perfect opportunity to try some new things, enjoy your children in a different light, and have some fun that you usually don’t have time for. And remember, once the routine of school is back in place, things will settle down for everyone and life will return to whatever “normal” is.