Winter Break!

Do I hear a “WHOOP-WHOOP?” It’s winter break!!!

No matter which holiday your family embraces and celebrates, it’s that time, and by now, ALL the kids are enjoying their winter break from school.


While school vacations are a relief for any child, they are usually an even bigger deal for the child with Juvenile Arthritis.  Morning stiffness is a big issue for sufferers of JA, and cold weather doesn’t help much either. School vacation means  JA kids get extra time to take their time getting up and getting ready for the day. It means not needing to push quite so hard through the pain of morning stiffness. It means being allowed to give into the fatigue that so many JA kids experience, and just being able to take a nap when they need to. It means not needing to go outside and feel the effects of a cold December winter if they don’t want to, and just being able to curl up in front of the TV with a cup of cocoa. Besides all the regular excitement and happiness that comes with the season, these things make winter break that much more appreciated by our chronically ill kids.

Even though my kids are homeschooled, they also live for winter break. Although they still have to catch up on school, it is a lazier pace. There are no scheduled online classes to attend, they get to sleep as late as they want or take naps as the mood strikes, rather than around a static schedule. They get to have friends over who are also out of school and catch up with their real-life friends as well as their on-line friends.  They even get to reduce the load for doctors and therapy appointments since many offices are closed for a few days around the holidays. Even the offices are open,  I try to give my kids a break, and have at least one doctor free week if their health permits. It’s nice to feel “normal” just for a week.

Winter break can be busy and full of fun, but I try to make it a balance of both reasonable activities (given my kids’ health and limitations) with the ever so important “taking a break” concept I outlined in yesterday’s post. The same thing applies to the kids as it does to the caretakers- sometimes they need to “take a break” and recharge their batteries too. I encourage them to make that happen with extra naps, sleeping late, and eating well (more nutritious homemade meals) to balance out the holiday treats.

Besides not needing to deal with hectic school schedules, the guilt of sending our kids to school in pain, or all the other daily issues that JA parents must cope with during the regular school year, winter break also reduces our kids exposure to other sick kids. This may not sound like a big deal, but since many JA kids take immunosuppressants, exposure to a small virus, or even the common cold can turn into a very big deal for our medically fragile kids. Winter break also brings us a piece of mind that we don’t normally have during the school year. I think we parents might like it just as much as the kids.

How much more does winter break mean to you since you have a JA child in your family? What do you do (or avoid doing) to make the most of your holiday time off? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! We can all learn from each other.

Have a happy, healthy winter break!

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  1. i think everyone dealing with a ja kid is to be commended. and enjoy your break.
    Charisse Murray recently posted…Blogger Opp – Happy New Year $200 Visa Gift Card Giveaway!My Profile

  2. The kids love winterbreak and so do I. means no more waking up too early and i can stay up late without worrying about getting up early. Happy Holiday
    Sheila recently posted…Surviving the Family Road Trip & Long FlightsMy Profile

  3. My kiddos are thrilled to be on winter break, we have lots of fun activities planed together but the best part is being able to rest and relax. My daughter has a motor processing disorder and for her school is exhausting. She works really hard and pushes herself every day and now that she is on winter break she can just take it slow and have fun. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy your break!
    Paula -Growing Up Bilingual recently posted…Tips for an Unforgettable Holiday Trip to Orlando, FloridaMy Profile

    • Its not easy being a kid, period. When you throw any type of special situation in the mix, it makes it even harder. I’m glad that your daughter, just like my sons get a good break away from the stress of working so hard!

  4. I too am a fan of holiday breaks! It’s the time of the year that the family awaits.. Where we take time to bond as a family.. We are complete! 🙂

    I admire you for being a homeschooling advocate.. 🙂

    • I am SO happy for break! (even as a homeschooler!) And speaking of homeschool, I am an advocate for whatever works best for your family! Some years that has been public school, some years private… other years have been hospital homebound or homeschool. We have chosen whatever allowed us the best educational opportunities and consistency for our kids under the circumstances. As our situation has changed, what was ideal for us has changed. I hate when people knock on families’ decision to homeschool (or make other choices NOT to homeschool) because what is good for us, for now, may not be what is right for you and vice versa! We need to support one another, period!

  5. I don’t have a JA child of my own but I have several friends with children on immunosuppressants drugs. Germs are such an all consuming part of their day. A break from the action is welcome relief. I sympathize with the need to just stay curled up with cocoa. I feel that way without morning stiffness. Enjoy your break. Merry Christmas to you all.
    Jessica recently posted…Cookie ExchangeMy Profile

    • Its nice to hear someone who DOESN’t have a JA child “gets it.” Thanks for the affirmation- and yes- curling up in jammies with cocoa is nice period 🙂 Merry Christmas to you too!

  6. Congrats to you, doing homeschooling. I’ve always wanted to, but it’s just not for us. Although during the Christmas break, we’ll be doing a few days trips and we’ll be learning that way.
    Shannon recently posted…Elf on a Shelf ~ Day 27My Profile

    • This year homeschooling was out of necessity, rather than choice. It has its good and bad points for sure, but its a good experience for anyone to do at least one year, imho. Next year with two in high school, it will be back to traditional school for us (hopefully)

  7. My niecer (Bella) was just diagnosed with JIA in August and it seems like a long uphill battle that is ever changing! Hopefully she will be ok this winter.

    • I think that what she is experiencing is a common complaint with JA families. No sooner than you think you have it figured out, then the disease morphs and throws you a curve ball. I hope she will feel better this winter. Please let her parents know about my blog and Facebook page. It helps when you have the support of the JA community behind you.

  8. I am not a JA parent, but my husband has Juvenile onset RA, so I know what it is like to take care of someone in pain.. thanks for sharing!
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  9. I can’t imagine have to deal with JA! You must have a very strong kid! Breaks are very much a necessity though and I’m glad that they get a break and can relax and enjoy their time off! I know I enjoy my time off too!
    Cara @ Craftdictator recently posted…Cookie TreeMy Profile

  10. Thank goodness for winter breaks for kids with JA. I am not going to even attempt to say I understand. We do have a son with Type I diabetes and we are going into his 4th year this January. It was hard but we survived and we are very happy we found out and can give him what he needs to live. He’s 12 now and doing well with it but I do feel for you and your family. I am very glad winter break gives kids with JA a chance to just be happy, comfy and nap as often as they can!
    Sabrina recently posted…Holiday Parties – What to wearMy Profile

    • Sabrina, even though you may not have a kid with JA, I know you “get it” to a degree because you have your own child with a chronic condition! There are many similarities being a caregiver for ANY kid with chronic illness. I’m glad that you are in a good routine and in a good place with your son! Thanks for taking time to comment!

  11. Im No A JA parent, but, but it seems like it a hard job for parents that do have a child with JA, only thing I can say is just try your best to take care of your child & keep them healthy, but with the holidays around, I’m sure with spending every moment with your family, is priceless
    GossipMoms (@GossipMoms) recently posted…NeNe Leakes: I Had Wine For Breakfast Before ‘Housewives’ AuditionMy Profile

    • I think all parents have the same challenges, but we parents with chronically ill kids have a few that are magnified, with a couple extra thrown in! On the bight side, I appreciate all those little things (like a lazy day in cozy jammies drinking hot cocoa with my kids) now more than ever!

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