The air is getting colder, jingle bells are…jingling, and everything’s supposed to be merry and bright…right? Well, sometimes that’s not the case—especially when your girl is feeling a bit “grinchy.” But instead of letting your daughter’s mood put a damper on the holiday, get to the bottom of the problem so her holiday (and yours!) can be a whole lot happier.
The Problem: School Stress
Many schools schedule finals or big exams for right after winter break, and your girl could feel torn between enjoying her time off and prepping for these important tests. Prioritizing is hard! Adding to that pressure for older girls, the final deadline for some college applications is just around the corner.
The Fix: Make a Plan of Action
It’s tempting to ignore the clock and let loose over holiday break, but when your girl has a big deadline coming up, it’s important to build in time for her to study or complete a project. Help her map out what she needs to accomplish by the time classes start back up again, and then spread it out over the days she has off so she can both celebrate the joys of the season and make sure she makes the grade.
The Problem: Your Elf is Exhausted
Letting her stay up late to watch a holiday special or to linger a little longer at a fun and festive party might seem like a good idea in the moment, but everyone, especially your little one, needs rest to maintain a good mood. Even if she hasn’t been staying up later, there’s extra stimuli around holiday time—constant music, twinkling lights, people swinging by unexpectedly, all of that can be tiring, too!
The Fix: Bring Back Bedtime and Breakfast
Sticking to a fixed bedtime (or at least not straying too far from it) will help your girl stay energized and more upbeat. And if you know there’s an unavoidable late night on the horizon, prep for it with an afternoon nap. Admit it—you could use an extra hour or two of sleep, too! Balance the random (and probably inevitable) sugar cookie or candy treat by starting days off energizing with something healthy and filling with whole grains and protein. Instant oatmeal or a piece of toast with nut butter are quick to prepare, and can make all the difference in her day.
The Problem: She’s Got the Gimmies
Focusing on gifts, and who gets what and how much, can get out of hand around the holidays. And with stores marketing “perfect gifts,” constant toy commercials on TV, and catalogs shipped to your door almost non-stop, even the sweetest of girls can get a greedy streak now and then or feel jealous of someone who has more than she does.
The Fix: Give Priceless Presents
Take the focus away from material objects and help your girl reconnect with the most valuable things we can gift to each other—our time, our energy, and our thoughtfulness. Give her an opportunity to give to others in your community by volunteering at a soup kitchen or food bank, or paying a special holiday visit to the neighbor down the street whose partner passed away this year and might want a bit of company. She’ll feel good about what she’s doing to help others and will develop a new appreciation for all the riches she has in her own life.
The Problem: The Magic is Missing
As your girl gets older, she might start to feel that Santa and other holiday hallmarks are for little kids—and not so much for her.
The Fix: Give Her North Pole Power
Show her that the spirit of the season is for everyone by getting her in on the action. Giving her new and important responsibilities as a Santa’s helper—by decorating the house or even wrapping gifts—will show her just how valuable she is to your family’s holiday tradition. Want to take it a step further? Check out Operation Santa, a program run by the U.S. Postal Service, in which everyday people can help Santa fulfill the wishes of kids who might not have much this season. You can read through children’s wishes together and help gifts get to families who need them most.