Are you dreading the summer holidays? Or excited for them to start? Perhaps it’s a mixture of the two but you’re not quite sure how to get through the next 6 weeks?
Here are some ideas that’ll help you to make the most of the break:
- Don’t over plan. Children need downtime as much as adults, especially at the beginning and end of the holidays. There is nothing wrong with letting them collapse in front of a DVD or leaving them to amuse themselves with their toys to reduce stress levels.
- Help them use their imaginations with you nearby but not necessarily joining in. Let them use the bed linen to make tents on bed-change day, combine watering the lawn with water play such as running through the spray of a sprinkler or hose. Children need to build their ability to play safely on their own with the company of adults in the background. This increases their confidence by making them feel safe as they move towards independence.
- Aim to leave the house every day: the beach, the park, a bike or scooter ride, a walk or just a visit to the shops will count. A change is as good as a rest and even a short injection of vitamin D and endorphins is healthy (and will help to tire them out too!) In wet weather make the most of the local library, museum, child-friendly cafe, ball-park, pottery cafe or cinema.
- Stock up on some arty crafty bits and pieces (Wilkinsons do an extensive cheap range) and keep old birthday cards, envelopes and scrap paper and card for easy, impromptu making sessions. Check out Scrapstore where you can buy cheap off-cut materials and attend family workshops.
- Use your supermarket vouchers cleverly (or hunt around on the internet for vouchers) for some special days out to theme parks and wildlife centres.
- Ask around at school, the local library, church or children’s centre for summer activities and book your children onto anything that looks like fun.
- Arrange play dates with parents of your children’s friends. Take it in turns to host so that you can get some chores done or have some quality child-free time.
- Contact your family early and organise visits to and from grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and family friends.
- Be easy on yourself and cut yourself some slack over the holidays. Term time is relentless. Now you can relax a bit on your daily routines and habits. Enjoy some family barbeques that run later than normal and follow up with a snuggly lie in the next day.
- Keep your sense of humour! As the saying goes: Those who laugh together stay together.