As school half term approaches, you may have planned next week’s activities with military precision, or you may just be taking the ‘wait and see how it unfolds’ approach – depending on your parenting style and natural inclination.
Some people find the change of routine refreshing and more relaxing– no military precision over wake-up times, breakfast, packed lunches, sports kit, teeth brushing and so forth. And a no shouting to ‘hurry up or you’ll miss the bus’ or similar.
Others find the lack of a timetable more stressful, trying to fill the days with a bored and restless brood. There may be conflicts of style within the family, for example a child that likes to know what is organised for the day and a parent who wants them to entertain themselves at home for once. Quite apart from being chief organiser, the cost of days out, which can mount alarmingly quickly can also be a concern.
Finding a balance
Kids are under such pressure themselves these days, that these holiday weeks are essential for letting them relax and unwind, so try to find an equilibrium between their needs and the hurly-burly of life.
Here are some tips for making the most of the week with your offspring:
- Take the kids to the beach or the park for good old-fashioned fun. Climb trees and collect leaves, make sandcastles and paddle (in wellies). Above all, enjoy the fresh air – it’s a real mood booster
- Get together with another family for a morning or afternoon and just enjoy the social interaction
- Arrange a board games afternoon – it’s a great way for the whole family to share the same activity and have fun together
- Get out at least once a day to embrace the outdoors and expose yourselves to direct daylight
- Avoid junk foods – get the children involved in cooking for themselves and understanding more about fresh ingredients and what they are eating
- If you are a working parent, let your boss know in advance how often you will be accessing emails e.g. first thing in the morning, only in the evening, not at all. Stick to it and enable yourself to switch off
- Discipline yourself to reducing time spent looking at your phone. It’s often the trigger for kids to start misbehaving or fighting, so spend that screen time concentrating on family interaction. You may be surprised at how much time you’ve liberated
- Try to set aside homework time each day, preferably at the start of the week, so it isn’t all left to the last minute.