Wellbeing: Top tips for managing the summer holidays
Now that the school summer holidays are nearly upon us, can you feel a dual sense of excitement and panic creeping in? The lovely, long, light days, lots of travel and quality family time. But the summer spell means also at least 6 weeks out of school, which even with the best-behaved children, carefully planned childcare and most flexible employer, can present a challenge.
We asked some of our Cityparents members for their top tips for getting through the summer months and here are our favourites:
Keep a holiday diary
One member suggested this and we love the idea – give your children a holiday diary and ask them to complete it each day. It could be a picture, a short note on their favourite thing they did, sticking in a ticket stub, or you could challenge them to include something they learnt, are thankful for, or something kind they did that day. It doesn’t matter if a few days are missed of course but it’s a great way to keep their brains ticking over and to create some routine whilst out of school.
Think creatively about childcare
Even for workers with a bank of annual leave and a flexible employer, six-plus weeks of childcare-less time can pose a major headache. Our main advice here is to plan ahead and mix it up. Ask other parents what holiday camps and clubs your children’s friends are doing and sign them up early so they can go with a buddy. Talk to family and friends to see who is willing and available to help or share childcare in the holidays. Ask around for families who have nannies or au pairs available while the family is on holiday so may be able to help out. Remember that you are not alone in piecing together this annual jigsaw puzzle, and it will work out.
Travel in pyjamas
No, not you! The children. For long car journeys, it’s a great tip to set off either early or late in the day with children in their pyjamas. It may feel like a lot of travel before or after a long day but there are lots of benefits to this: clear(er) roads, shorter journeys, tired children who are more likely to sleep and likely to need less food or toilet stops.
Scrap (or limit) screen time for the whole family for the summer, or part of it. Devices have so many benefits but for some time over the summer try to enjoy fresh air, exercise, board and garden games instead. Check out Rachel Vecht’s advice here on how to create a screen time contract with your children.
This applies to absolutely everyone! Be clear to colleagues at work when you will be working and how (if at all) contactable you’ll be when you are away. Explain clearly and carefully to children what the plans are for the holidays and what part of it you can spend with them. And for yourself: are you expecting a heavenly, peaceful, calm summer with perfectly behaved children and a good book? Think again! Spending time with our children is wonderful of course but keep your expectations realistic. Long journeys, high levels of excitement and lack of routine can test some boundaries.
So be open and flexible where you can, take a deep breath and try to find some time for yourself too...
Released On 8th Jul 2019