A fun-filled day is wonderful, but often leaves its mark on the next day – in a not-so-wonderful way. Parenting strategies for day-after-fun blues.
So Much Fun
The fourth of July this year was SO. Much. Fun!
Our neighbors rented a bounce house and we had a large neighborhood gathering with water, fun and food. Kids in swim suits were running freely between backyards.
It was a day of giggles, sun, water and all. the. FUN.
An amazing day ended with bug spray, glow bracelets and fireworks. Our kids were understandably exhausted at 10:30 and fell asleep quickly despite more fireworks just outside their windows.
I’m telling you – NOTHING could wake them.
A fun-filled day is a wonderful thing, but some times it leaves its mark on the next day, in a not-so-wonderful way.
The morning went fine, but as the day continues it becomes clear that everyone is still very tired.
Even this mama.
The next day melt-downs, pouting faces and complaining make one thing very clear; the fun is over.
We knew it was going to be this way. Still, we chose to have a non-stop fun day and make all the memories we could. Who wouldn’t? We intentionally chose to encourage and celebrate the joy of being a kid in the summer in a neighborhood filled with kids.
You know what? It was worth it. No matter how hard today becomes. We expected that today might hold challenges. And it has. Life with littles is full of these challenges.
While we can’t prevent our kids from being tired after every fun event, we can establish a game plan to make the most of the Day-After-Fun Blues. Instead of stopping early or skipping the memories, we just need parenting strategies to get us through the next 24 hours.
Parenting Strategies For Day-After-Fun Blues
Sleep As Long As Possible
This is a no-brainer for older kids who love to sleep in. But for those of us with younger children, we know the sad truth. A late bedtime does NOT mean small children will sleep in. In fact, there is no guarantee small children will recoup any missed sleep, but we still need to try!
Ensure your child’s room is set up for sleep, with room-darkening shades and a fan to block out noise outside. Talk to your children the night before, setting the morning expectations, so no one is upset and surprised when they need to stay in bed. Be sure to make each child understand they are not to go and wake their siblings up in the morning. Then hold the plans loosely, because as much as we’d like to, we cannot make them sleep.
Older Kids – If your child can tell time, tell them to go back to sleep until a time of your choosing. Our son wakes up at 6, but stays in bed until 7. When up late, he stays in bed until 8:30. Once in a while, he’ll even fall back asleep.
Preschoolers and Toddlers – We can tell kids who can’t tell time to try to sleep until we come get them.
Baby – No plan will make the baby sleep longer. But we can set conditions to promote sleep. Try blackout curtains, a noise machine and ensure they’ve had plenty of food and water during the day.
Get Out of the House
A house full of tired people tend to bug each other. Or get very bored. This is true of children and adults, isn’t it? If possible, plan a low-key activity to get out of the house for a little while.
This morning our family got up and went to the Minnesota Zoo using our zoo pass. I realize some might not think this sounds relaxing, but for us it is. We go often, there’s no pressure to stay all day. When the kids seem tired or uninterested, we pack up and come home.
Not up for the Zoo? Head to the park, go on a walk, explore the library or skip meal prep and escape to a restaurant for a meal.
Older kids may no longer nap, but ALL kids can take a rest in their rooms.
At our house, all of the kids spend time in their room. Our older kids play quietly in their rooms or read books. Our son plays Legos and cars and our middle daughter plays with her doll house and dress up clothes. Once in a great while, one will fall asleep.
When everyone rests, you get a much-needed break. Usually, the baby sleeps while this mama takes some time to write. But you could certainly take a rest too!Older kids may no longer nap, but ALL kids can take a rest in their rooms. #naptime #dayafterfun #parenting #thisgratefulmama Click To Tweet
may will experience cranky moments. When it happens, it can be helpful to recall the fun that got us into this mess. Reflection promotes gratitude, and gratitude promotes a change in attitude.
Discuss the best parts of the fun you had yesterday. Think fireworks, food or fun. Laugh about the funniest and weirdest things that happened.
If the kids seem to need an activity or something to keep them from bickering, pull out the paper and markers and have them journal or draw their favorite memories from the day before.
Be sure to praise their creativity and have them tell you all about what they created or wrote.
Plan A Quiet Evening
No matter how well the day goes, we all know tiredness increases as the day goes on. While some children will become mellow towards the evening, many will become hyper and develop a short fuse.
Distraction is often the key to a quiet evening when everyone is tired. Spending some quality time together with a simple activity can help keep calm until that glorious moment of bedtime.
A low key evening with an easy meal followed by a quiet activity can go a long way. If your children are too tired to focus on anything for long, start a movie and pull out a puzzle or offer to read a big stack of books. Then kids can move around between the options when they get bored.
When in doubt, remind yourself of how tired you are. It’s easier to have compassion and respond with kindness when we consider how our kids are feeling. Don’t forget to give yourself grace too. The Day-After-Fun Blues extends to parents too, especially parents who stayed up even later than the kids, and did all the prep work before the fun even began.
No parent is perfect. When you fail to extend grace, you can still seek forgiveness and do the next right thing. Don’t beat yourself up;Mom-guilt over your tired response won’t get any of you any closer to peace and calm.
Then continue extending grace. And extend some more. It’s going to be a long day. Soft words, distraction and prayer will go a long way tinovercoming the day-after-fun blues.Soft words, distraction and prayer will go a long way in overcoming day-after-fun blues. #thisgratefulmama #parenting #momlife #speaksoftly Click To Tweet
When the going gets rough, keep looking ahead to today’s early bedtime.
Each of our children will hit their pillows at 7 pm tonight. Set the time and stick to it!
Tomorrow will thank you.
How does your family handle the day-after-fun blues?
Good News For Bad Parenting Days, ChristianParenting.org
We Don’t Have To Be Mom Enough, This Grateful Mama
12 ways to keep calm and carry on when your kids are trying your patience, Focus on the Family