Parent’s Survival Guide to the Summer Holidays
Keep it simple!
There is lots of pressure to fill every day of the summer holidays with amazing trips out, however the kids usually just want to spend time with you doing the simplest of things.
The summer is a fabulous opportunity for picnics in the garden or the local park. Where can you walk to and explore? Perhaps download fact sheets from the internet about flowers and trees, bugs and butterflies and get the kids to find and identify as many different species as possible.
Take the ball games from the garden with you and if there is a group of you, a good game of rounders is always fun.
Remember – you don’t have to fill every minute for the children with something fun. It’s okay for them to ‘be bored’ now and then, this is what can get their creative juices flowing and encourage development of their ability to be okay with their own company and be inventive.
It’s okay to be a big kid!
Join in with the kids when you can and find your ‘free inner child’!
Run around the garden and play sports, kick a ball, get on the trampoline and sit in the paddling pool with them. Whatever makes them and you smile and laugh!
Kick off your shoes and feel the grass – notice the environment around you and the children will take your lead. Things like laying on the ground and looking up at the sky and seeing what cloud shapes you can see, teaching the kids to make daisy chains and caterpillars…all the things you enjoyed doing when you were a child.
Being with the kids is great, however you still need some adult interaction.
So, to kill two birds with one stone, why not invite family or friends around for the afternoon now and then. This way the kids get to socialise too and possibly play with other children, and you can have a good catch up over a cuppa.
If you don’t have a garden, you can arrange to meet up at the local park or anywhere you fancy.
Have you and your partner had a date night lately? Well, maybe its time to arrange one…ask around family to help or friends if they know a good local babysitter.
Count to ten!
Stick with your normal boundaries around discipline, however be aware that routine is more variable in the holidays so the kids behaviour can slip and dynamics can change.
If you feel like you are going to lose your temper with the children, do try to take a few deep breaths to allow thinking time and a calm response to unfold. Even changing the room you are in can help. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed the children will be generally.
Don’t forget to talk to someone. If you are worried about how you are feeling or that you are not coping so well, then share these thoughts and ask for help. You won’t be the first parent to be at a loss to know what to do sometimes.
Wind down the week before back to school – the kids have been used to late nights, wearing what they want, bbq’s in the garden and hopefully having a ball. It is time to introduce the routine gently so they are rested before school begins again in September.
Re-establish the bedtime routine and start talking about the friends in their class and familiarising them with school related conversations – always keeping things light hearted. Maybe talk about the teacher they are going to be having and ask what they are looking forward to doing or who they are looking forward to seeing when they get back to school.
This way, you are less likely to get negative behaviour from the kids that leaves your nerves frazzled. Remember though, that it is ok for your children to express their feelings about going back to school and if they start to feel a bit sad – this is normal and will most likely fade as soon as they’re back at the school and see their friends. Talking about these things during play or at bath time can be a good distraction and a way for you to gauge how they are.