The school holidays are not far away and for many that can be an anxiety inducing time.  For the parents, as well as the children!  For other families the school holidays are a brilliant time, as the worry of school isn’t there. 

Personally, whilst I love the holidays, trying to balance spending time with my son and continuing to work isn’t always an easy task. I certainly don’t always get it right but over the years I’ve got much better.  I thought I’d share my top tips for making the holidays easier, so here you go:

Structure 

Every holiday I have a timetable stuck to the fridge.  It’s nothing fancy, I just draw the days out on a piece of paper and then fill in what I know.  I don’t break it down hour by hour because I don’t need to, but if you do, then break it down to that level.  Do what works for your family.  I add to it as we go and as I arrange things.  

For some families putting the schedule up the day before, or even in the morning, is better.  Some children need to see what is coming, for others that creates too much anxiety so the less notice the better.  Again, do what is right for your family and if you’re not sure try out different methods and see what works best. 

Lack of structure can be a very worrying thing for children, so do try and have some structure in your days, even if that is just meal times. 

Activities 

Try and build in a mixture of different activities so they have a way of burning off energy.  Exercise is a great regulator for everyone. 

Calming activities like crafts, board games etc are also good if your child will play them. 

I also build in PJ days where we just hang out at home, watch movies and chill out.  I find these days are invaluable, particularly in the longer holidays.  For us, being too busy doesn’t work.

Parental Presence 

Try to up your presence in the run up to the holidays and during it.  It helps to reduce anxiety and create a stronger bond.  That time when they get your undivided attention is so important, but I know how easy it is to not do it in the holidays – thinking you are with them more so it’s not so important.  They still need it though.

Self care 

Do lots of it in the run up to the holidays so that you top your tank up as much as you can.  Plan something in for the end of the holidays when the children are back at school as well.  It gives you something to look forward to. By the end of the holiday I’m in definite need of a top up!  I also try and do things during the holidays.  I do a mixture of self care: some that raises my presence, like taking my son swimming or playing with him and some things by myself like journaling or reading.  Both work and if I’m organised I can fit both in.

And finally, remember that those pictures on social media showing everyone having amazing holiday and all smiley are not always the whole truth.  That picture might have been the only few seconds in the day when they all looked happy and were together.

If you’d like help and support during the holidays (or at any time) come and join my free Facebook group where I share ideas and you can talk to other parents as well.  www.facebook.com/groups/connectiveparentingusingnvr