Routine Dysregulation

Annabel Santa 2012 016-1It is the day after Christmas and there is a lot to do. Usually the house is a disaster and things need to slowly put back in order.

As fun as the holidays are with visiting family and exciting events, the lack of routine can really wreak havoc on your children and their emotional regulation.

Children need routines, children need structure, children need limits. These are usually three things that go out of the window around holiday time.’

It is okay because that is life. Things always come up and routines get pushed aside.

It is important to know though how to pull back and regain regulation.

The key is timing and for everyone that is slightly different. There are many families that have holiday decorations up for weeks after Christmas.

I do what is probably the least common. I break things down and get rid of the tree usually the day after Christmas. Sometimes it isn’t until the 28th or 29th but it is fairly quick.

I do it for many reasons. One is I am desperate for my space back. I want the pine needles off my floor and everything back in order.

But it is more than that. I want to establish my regular life routine before I have to go back to the craziness of the work life. I want to enjoy my time at home without it being related to the holiday, if that makes sense.

Whenever you actually put things away is not important though. It is when you are able to get back to a regularly functioning household; when the routine becomes close enough to typical that it allows for emotional regulation.

This ability to go from emotional regulation to dysregulation and then back to regulation again is the foundation of emotional stability. Being able to deal with these ups and downs is an inherent part of life. Life is stressful. Even when the life events are wonderful, such as the holidays, they can still feel stressful.

When you are ready, regroup. Create some type of order that is right for your family and it will set the stage for increased family happiness and harmony.

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