What goes up, must come down. It’s physics. The presents are unwrapped, the decorations are gone and Stuart the Elf went back to the North Pole.

This holiday season, we tried something new. We got an Elf on a Shelf and named him Stuart. I was skeptical at first and didn’t think I was creative enough to deal with the elf. But after my son wrote Santa asking him to send him a “real elf”, I gave in and boy was I surprised! My kids’ behavior (especially Cohen’s) changed completely. He knew Stuart was watching him and reported back to Santa.

But our high of the Christmas season is over. The more chaos and fun we had, the more my kids’ behavior came tumbling down.

Now What?

I spent hours agonizing and searching for a Hatchimal, and after she hatched, I think Cohen’s played with it maybe once or twice. The kids got everything they wanted but aren’t satisfied. Their initial reactions melted my heart on Christmas Day, but now the newness has worn off.

Christmas in this country is material, commercialized and secularized in so many ways. Some of the traditions I carry on—and will no doubt continue to carry on—reflect that. However, every year I try to make it less about presents and more about giving. And with the first of the year, I try to take time to thank God for so many blessings in my life. I take the time to notice the amazing things around me. Thus, making me realize how important the things around me are and not the items I have.

But how do I express this to my children? Children in particular may not even realize why they feel the way they do. But I have noticed Cohen’s attitude changing now that Stuart is gone. And now I want to come up with the Easter Bunny on a Shelf. Is there such a thing?

A New Year Means New Changes

After many days of inner conflict and realizing my children are acting differently, I came up with some strategies to help Cohen overcome the feeling of the post-holiday letdown. As parents we know that communicating is best, and Cohen loves to share. I wanted him to share his feelings so I can help him understand and work through it.

My husband and I sat down with Cohen and went over the events of the year to come. Who has a birthday next? What parties or other holidays are coming up? What does he want to achieve in the upcoming year?

Opening the door to anything is possible and can get your kids to stop feeling down and start focusing on their plans going forward. He was really excited for the next semester of school to begin! He loves to learn and be creative. He also likes to set little goals for the week.

We came up with different nights to do different things as a family based on his attitude for the night. Game night, movie night, creativity night, toys night and so on. I’m hoping this will help him get through the post-holiday letdown.

If that doesn’t work, I guess I may come up with the Easter Bunny on the Lawn or something.

Mallory Connelly

Mallory Connelly

Babies & Toddlers

In addition to the time I devote to being a mom, I also work full-time outside the home, which means my day is hardly ever as simple as nine to five. With an all-too-established schedule, as soon as I walk through the door, my day doesn’t end, but rather just begins. It’s a balancing act, especially with two children, but being a mom is one full-time job that I never want to quit!

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