January 5, 1997

Media Contacts: Sarah Goodwin, 404/727-3366 -
Kathi Ovnic, 404/727-9371 -

December is the season of fun and festivities and can be a tough act to follow into January. "Readjusting to life after the holidays can be quite a challenge for some families," says Dr. Karen Dewling, M.D., a pediatrician at The Emory Clinic North.

"Many children look forward to the holidays because of the increased social activities, varied daily routines and lots of delicious foods around every corner, Dr. Dewling says. "Most adults are fond of these things, as well."

Making the readjustment back to school and routines can be challenging - especially when coupled with cold weather and limited daylight. Children may often seem irritable or melancholy. Symptoms of the "January blues" may include lack of energy, decreased appetite, poor sleep patterns, inability to concentrate and irritability.

Dr. Dewling offers these tips to parents to help soften "holiday withdrawal symptoms."

  • Don't rely on television for all of your family's entertainment -- fun family outings can increase feelings of adventure and togetherness.
  • Spend more time outdoors with the family when the weather cooperates. A brisk walk around the neighborhood can burn off tension and excess energy.
  • Make sure your kids are getting a proper amount of sleep and eating a balanced diet.
  • Maintain your daily schedule -- but don't hesitate to change it up a bit. On occasion varying some aspects of a daily routine -- such as bathtime or playtime -- can give children a much needed change of pace.
  • Begin planning spring or summer trips as a family. Even upcoming trips to the zoo or amusement parks can give kids special events to look forward to.

    Some children may still suffer from winter doldrums, even if parents practice some of these suggestions. "Never hesitate to contact your pediatrician if problems persist," says Dr. Dewling.


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