Summer Holidays, do you love them or hate them? Either way, they happen every year and a little forward planning goes a long way to help you physically and mentally prepare.
Routine, kids work better when they know what is happening. The tendency over the Summer is to let routines go and have a more ‘go with the flow’ attitude, which I do support, lazy mornings are personally what I am most looking forward to! However, I would not let routine’s go so far that you then have the pain and struggle come September to claw them back. It might be that you have a halfway house, in that you discuss with your children prior to the Summer holidays commencing, what are your non-negotiables e.g. will bedtime routine stay or can they stay up till they want? As long as children know where they stand, they are less likely to strop and rebel.
Plan, each week let your kids know what is planned, will they be at Holiday Clubs? Are you off? Are you going to have a structure to the day? Is there an expectation that chores, homework, reading need to be done before screens can be switched on? I suggest you display the plan somewhere centrally so that your kids can refer to it. It is not taking out spontaneity it is just creating a loose structure that will help you all manage expectations. You may even wish to go a step further and allocate days for certain things, e.g. a craft day, a cooking day, an outdoor adventure day that way you can also plan and organise in advance.
With all the toys in your homes, the wonders of the garden to explore, and a craft cupboard bulging with supplies, I am sure your children will come to you and tell you they are bored! You may wish to set up a boredom basket, box or drawer, where you gather long-forgotten toys, games, craft, books and when they declare they are bored, point them in the direction of the ‘boredom basket’. What you need to do is resist the urge to give them ideas of how to snap out of their boredom, it is not your job to problem solve for them, let them do that!
Remember to have some fun this Summer, it is after all your summer too! Ensure you build in some ‘you time’ and self-care. It makes you a better person, mum, friend, partner when you selfishly and unashamedly put your self first. As mum’s we tend to leave our needs to the bottom of the pile, don’t! As the airlines tell us, fit your own oxygen mask first and then assist others.
Here is to a Summer of fun, built from a foundation of routine, planning, self-care and letting your children problem solve. You have got this, and if you haven’t repeat the affirmation ‘I am enough’ over and over again, remember to breathe and then call a friend.
By Anisa Lewis
Director of Parenting Success Yorkshire, www.anisalewis.com