Christmas vacation!

We all need a break–a nice, long vacation–every now and again. Others are booking flights and hotel accommodations in advance. There are people who love to charter a private jet similar from Jettly to go to their destinations.

It seems that adults just don’t get that very often. This time of the year, the lucky ones get Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, and maybe New Year’s Day. I could go on about the lack of balance in our lives, but I will leave it to the many others working diligently in that area.

However, the annoying lack of vacation time around the holidays becomes truly problematic when our children have, in my case, three weeks off from school. Today (well, tomorrow actually, since I’m writing this really late on Sunday night) is my children’s first official day of Christmas Break.  And I am one of the lucky ones. I work mostly from home, and I work for myself.

There are plenty of parents, however, who are stressing about leaving their children and teenagers home alone for the next two or three weeks. This is hardest as children reach the cusp of adolescence. With 17 and 18 year olds, it’s pretty easy to leave them home alone. (They’ll sleep most of the day anyway.) But what about your almost-teenager? The 12 year old who is too old for a babysitter, but too young to be home alone for 10 hours a day? Or what about the 15 year old with the girlfriend/boyfriend who you don’t trust?

These are times when balance and communication may not come easily.

Nevertheless, balance and communication are truly the only ways to get through these hard situations. Talk about expectations. Talk about trust. Talk about the consequences of lack of trust. And know that it will all work out in the end, one way or another. (Even if it doesn’t work out the way you had hoped for.)

How have your dealt with these situations with your children? How did your parents deal with you when you were a teenager?

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. My mom worked only part time, so on the rare occasions she couldn’t work something out, I’d go in with her to her office. She worked in a large practice of psychologists, and they had a kid’s therapy/play room and I’d just do my thing in there (unless they had a client that needed to use the room, and that rarely happened).

    I also can remember spending time with my grandparents during Christmas breaks.

    And we had an elderly friend of the family who was like a 3rd grandmother to me that I could go and spend time with.

  2. I had a stay-at-home dad, but I remember a few times when he was gone somewhere and my mother hired an older teenage neighbor to “hang out” with me for a few hours. That worked pretty well.

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