Are you dreading the summer holidays? Or waiting for them with excitement? 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 which may be useful:
- Don’t overplan. Children need downtime as much as adults, especially at the beginning and end of the holidays. There is nothing wrong with letting them collapse infront of a dvd or letting them 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 bedlinen to make tents on bedchange 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 which helps them become more confident later as they move towards independence.
- Aim to leave the house every day: the beach, the park, a bike and scooter ride, a walk or just a visit to the shops. A change is as good as a rest and even a short injection of vitamin D and endorphins is healthy and will tire them out too! Even in wet weather there’s still the local library, museum, child friendly cafe, ball park, pottery cafe or cinema.
- Stock up on some arty crafty bits and pieces (Wilkinsons do a pretty extensive cheap range) and keep old birthday cards, envelopes and scrap paper and card for easy impromptu making sessions. Check out Scrapstore (www.dorsetscrapstore.org.uk 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: Paultons Park, Farmer Palmers, Legoland, Thorpe Park etc.
- Ask around at school, local library, church, children’s centre for summer activities which may be being held 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. Every parent can be pushed to their limit and shout at their child at some point. When tempers are fraught try to be the role model you are, apologise and talk about the event when everyone has calmed down.
- Keep your sense of humour! As the saying goes: Those that laugh together stay together.