The summer holidays can be a stressful and financially demanding time of year, however there is no reason why these weeks can’t be jam packed with fun and happy times with your little ones. Here are some useful tips so you can keep your cool this summer and avoid stress:
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. You can 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.
Paddling pool fun – Kids love fun in the water. It can keep them amused for hours. Don’t bother with expensive toys for the pool, raid the kitchen for your jugs, plastic cups etc and let them be inventive with their water play. Bring the bath toys in. Don’t have a paddling pool or the shops have sold out? What about a large washing up bowl, plastic toy box – perfect for water play.
Does messy play indoors raise your blood pressure? Try taking all of the paints, glitters and other craft items out into the garden where you can let the children play and create to their hearts content! Mess is easily cleaned up and you can always hose the kids down on a warm day too before you let them back in the house!
Visit places that have a ‘pay once, free all year round’ ticket. That way you can go back as many times as you wish without paying a penny!
DON’T act your age!
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.
Stop and breathe
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 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.
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.
Childcare – Some parents have to work during the summer holidays which can be a worry as to who you can find to take care of your child/children over a six-week period.
For the days you are at work, who is available to you that you trust, and you know has a good relationship with your children? Grandparents? Aunts/Uncles? Neighbours or friends? If you are worried about being a burden on older grandparents, or anyone else for that matter, make up a packed lunch for your child and a bag of toys/books/games that they can take with them for the
time you are at work. Perhaps the children can do some little jobs for whomever is minding them – dusting, watering the plants – this will give you some bargaining power. Chances are, everyone will enjoy their time so much and will want to do it all again tomorrow!
Take a look on social media as there are usually lots of summer holiday playschemes that can provide a few hours childcare and fun and activities for the little ones!
Suggest to the children to make a scrapbook of the summer holidays – they can stick photos, leaflets, draw pictures or write about something they enjoyed. This way, they have something to take back to school with them and will easily be able to write about their holidays if asked by the teacher.
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.
Setting off on holiday?
Try to manage your expectations and don’t pin extremely high hopes on achieving the perfect holiday…there probably is no such thing. As long as everyone on that holiday is catered for and that there is something for everyone to enjoy, then you are halfway there!
Try not to take your work with you! Have mobile phones for emergencies only and don’t spend all of your time on social media sites missing what is actually going on around you. Absorb your time and attention with the people you are with.
If you are going on holiday, do enjoy the time away from your normal environment. Remember, BACK TO SCHOOL will be upon us soon enough as will the normal routine…so have some fun and have a great summer.