Written by: Anne Marie Forgarty, RGN
Summer Holidays with Children
Every year parents across the UK can be heard teeth clattering with the fear of the long summer holidays when school ends. What to do? Where to go? How can we manage work and children at home all day? Childminding havoc, the list of questions and worries go on. For the children, of course, they look forward with anticipation to a well-deserved break from their daily routine. So how do we all strike a balance? We all still need to continue working for the most part while our children deserve a nice few weeks stress-free in the sun- well, that’s if we get any sun!
We’ve put together some helpful tips to get you through these challenges and, hopefully, keep everyone happy!
1. Plan in advance: Decide what you want to achieve before schools even finish to get through the holidays.
2. Go away somewhere: A change is as good as a rest. Get away, even if it is a few days staycation, and make sure a change of scenery is on the plan.
3. Keep them outside as much as possible. Children are glued to their devices these days, so any chance we can, we should try to encourage interaction with nature. Fresh air helps sleep and mood, so you really can’t get enough of it, and it’s free!
4. Seaside days out: Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Grab your bucket and spade, and of course, don’t forget your sun factor and off to the beach you go.
5. Don’t panic if the kids are bored; boredom stems from creativity and imagination, allow them to be bored. It’s not a bad thing.
6. Den-making: Younger kids will love it on rainy days. Gather some chairs and blankets and let their imaginations run wild in their self-made den.
7. Teach them life skills: Allow them to cook dinner one night, bake cakes, and make smoothies. Give them chores; ok, that’s maybe not what they want to do in summer, but learning to hoover, dust, do laundry, make a shopping list, and cook are valuable skills they all need to learn. What better time than summer to capture their young minds and teach them something they’ll have for life.
8. Back garden games: set up obstacle courses, treasure hunts, races, or “Olympics”. They’ll get to burn off all that energy.
9. Go to parks, fields, forests, and playgrounds. Have picnics and BBQs all the time.
10. Encourage art, writing stories, reading (make a reading corner in your living room with a colourful beanbag and some books), and take them to an art exhibition, a gallery, and historical sites – all educational and entertaining.
11. Plan some fun days out at theme parks or amusement parks so they can look forward to that.
12. Make sure they have play dates, sleepovers, and friends around. Connections need to remain open with friends during the summer.
Most of all, don’t feel too guilty if you have to work and they want you to play. Instead, ask them to collect five different leaves outside, make the weekly shopping list, make a bed, or do some age-appropriate tasks that allow them to learn that their parents have a lot to do, and they’ll feel empowered by helping you!
Children spend so much of the year inside in classrooms, doing mundane tasks and tests, under the restrictions of rigid routines. Summer should really be all about allowing them to be free, to explore, to be bored, to have lie-ins, to eat late dinners, and to just be kids!