The adjustment from the glorious glare of Christmas to the dark days of early January is a struggle for the best of us.
But while as an adult, the excesses of the festive season reach a critical point naturally – when you realise that you can’t take another breakfast consisting solely of Quality Street – it doesn’t work the same for kids.
My three-year-old is still perplexed about why he no longer has an advent calendar to open each morning. On several occasions since the big day, he’s bounded downstairs in his pyjam
as and cried, ‘HAS HE BEEN?’ – having apparently been under the impression that Santa would be leaving presents by the fire on a daily basis from now on.
But it’s not just the very little ones who are finding the return to non-festive reality a shock to the system.
My ten year old – who’s spent his entire life waking up at the same sort of time as breakfast news presenters - has discovered the concept of the Big Lie In during this school break.
It happened almost overnight; one day he was still crashing into our room before we could prize open our eyes. The next – at some point between Christmas and New Year – he was failing to rouse before mid-morning.
This was so out of character that the first time it happened I had to creep into his room to check he was still breathing.
The point is this: the late mornings, the lazing about playing games and watching Stick Man for the thirtieth time are all lovely - but, alas, they’re unsustainable.
Yet, there is no pleasant way of easing yourself back into normality –that first day back on the school run is tough for all of us.
When you’ve become used to the kids remaining in their pyjamas until they’ve watched Santa Claus the movie twice and played a round of Pie Face, the idea of having everyone washed, dressed, fed and out of the house by 8am feels as unlikely as my seven-year-old managing to fulfil his long-held ambition of inventing time travel.
And although you do manage it – probably – there’s not much of a silver lining to this cloud if you’re a child.
For adults, January comes with coping mechanisms. You sign up for Weightwatchers. Blow the dust off the Davina DVD. Treat yourself to new fitness wear, convincing yourself that having the right pink leggings is half the battle.
But when you’re seven, it’s difficult to work out whatever was wrong with the idea of munching through a selection box for lunch every day. And I have to admit, I’m struggling with that one myself.