How to Handle End-of-Vacation Blues

How to Handle End-of-Vacation Blues

21 July 2022 • Words by Karla Pretorius 3 mins

It’s the end of the vacation, and your child is sad to see it end. Here are some tips to help them cope with the end-of-vacation blues. 

How to Handle End-of-Vacation Blues

Talk about the good times

Reminisce about all the fun things your family did during vacation. This will help your child focus on the positive memories and look forward to making new ones. You can create a “memories book” or a “family trip” album. I am a huge fan of scrapbooking, which can be a fun family activity. You can choose your favorite photos, get them printed, and add descriptions of what happened and how much you (hopefully) enjoyed these moments. It can also lead to an opportunity for your child to speak about their vacation to friends and other family members. Another idea here is to indicate when your next trip will be and where you will go as a family. 

Get organized

Help your child list everything they need to do to prepare for school. This will help them feel more in control and less overwhelmed. It can also be a fun activity, where they can choose their stationery and the colors of their lunchbox and perhaps create a schedule with you for the semester ahead. Maybe your child can also decide which extracurricular activities they want to try if this is a possibility. According to Hutton and Sepúlveda (2019), children usually “lose academic ground” over the summer holidays. It might be a good idea to focus on some homework assignments that were postponed when days felt longer and calmer on vacation.

Create a new routine

Vacation can be a significant change from the routine. Help your child ease into a regular routine by starting a few days before school begins. Wake up at the same time each day, eat breakfast together, and pack their backpack the night before. You can also have a few days of “pretend school,” where you go through the motions of ring time, reading together, spelling and writing, and then a short break. The more we prepare for transitions and upcoming changes, the better. We are setting our children up for success and not “hoping for the best” with a difficult change. 

Do something special

Plan a fun activity for the first day back from vacation. This will help your child transition back into their regular routine and give them something to look forward to. You can also ensure extra “special time,” where you spend additional time playing a favorite game or perhaps a Moshi bedtime story together. Click here to listen to a soothing story from McNulty and his doggy dreams.

Be patient

It can take a few days for your child to adjust to being back from vacation. Be patient and understanding as they readjust to their new routine. We all take a while to transition from a carefree holiday to a work routine. Our children were just able to spend every waking moment with you, their loving caregiver. They might become excited to see friends at school in a few days, but for now, it might feel like a dream is coming to an end. We can remind our children that there will be another holiday, good times will end, and others will begin.

Take it easy on yourself too! As mentioned, transitioning back home or work can be pretty tough for you too. Just because you are looking after your child’s emotional needs and preparing them for this upcoming transition doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking after your own needs. Ease into the transition and take a few extra movements and sensory breaks – especially at the beginning of the change. 

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Committee on Summertime Experiences and Child and Adolescent Education, Health, and Safety; Hutton R, Sepúlveda MJ, editors. Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2019 Sep 26. 3, The Effects of Summertime Experiences on Children’s Development.

Karla Pretorius

A registered counselor with a MA in Psychology. Co-founder: AIMS Global & Leadership at: Augmental