It’s that time of year when some parents are getting really excited because the holiday is nearly here and the stress of school is over for a bit. Others are starting to tear their hair out as the worry builds.
I tend to have a foot in both camps because whilst school isn’t really a problem here it’s nice to have the summer break. However, being a working parent brings its own challenges balancing work and play. I know that I’m lucky as I work from home, so it does make it easier. I also value time by myself and I don’t get that in the holidays. My son tends to be awake pretty much the same hours as me, so I do have to make sure I get enough alone time.
This week I thought I’d share some tips to help make the holidays, and the return to school, go a bit more smoothly. As you’ll know not all the tips will work for everyone, you’ll need to personalise them to your family’s needs. Hopefully they give you some ideas if nothing else.
- Have a plan. If you have a plan of what you are going to do it takes away lots of the stress. The plan will depend on what works for your child. No two plans will look identical and where your children have differing needs that does make it a bit hard to plan, but arguably more important.
- Put a schedule up on the wall. I draw out the week on a piece of paper and then put into each day what we are doing. Our schedule doesn’t have loads of detail as my son doesn’t need that now but having it up helps him know what’s happening when. I put the whole holiday schedule up a few days before term ends so he can see everything that is already planned. That much detail / advanced notice doesn’t work for everyone so do what works for you.
- Plan in your self care. Even just a few minutes a day reading, breathing or walking round the garden. Crossing something off your to do list counts as well. It’s doing something that is important.
- Build some down time into your schedule for all the family. We have a PJ day every so often so we can both chill out. Some kids need time daily, others struggle with unstructured time, so do what works. I do think that chill out time is important so they can just sit and watch TV, draw, build Lego or whatever works. If we are constantly on the go it gets tiring.
- Don’t be afraid to say no to invites. You do not have to do everything.
- Don’t be afraid to say yes to new things. You never know how it will go. Our children are growing and developing all the time so new things can become possible.
- Keep up the parental presence. It’s easy for the change in routines for it to slip, but keeping it up will definitely help.
- If the return to school is hard, ask school if you can pop in on the inset day in September to help your child re-familiarise themselves with school and their new classroom.
- Driving past the school a few times over the holidays can help as well. It can also make things worse, so be careful with this one.
- Relax! Children sense our anxiety, so we need to be as relaxed as possible.
I hope these ideas help you. Remember, that just because last year was bad (if it was) it doesn’t mean this year will be.
I’ll be in the Hub all through the summer holidays supporting parents and helping them through. If you’d like help and support do come and join us. It’s my monthly membership group and you can find all the details at www.sarahpfisher.com/connectiveparentinghub
For other resources and details, go to https://sarahpfisher.com/