Parenting 101: Surviving The Summer Holidays With Children

Parenting 101: Surviving The Summer Holidays With Children

Most parents will agree that school holidays can feel like hard work. Though it may already feel like an eternity, this week marks the half-way point of the summer break. We spoke to Noël Janis-Norton, Learning and Behaviour Specialist on how to survive the rest…

Have A Plan For Each Day

This is key to avoid children whingeing about being bored and fighting with siblings. Try to arrange regular activities that are purposeful and challenging as well as fun. The long summer holiday is a great opportunity for children to do activities they don't normally have time for during the school term.

Create A Calendar 

This works well for the entire family. Have a board or calendar up in the house so that everyone can see and add to if necessary. Put as much info as possible on the calendar so everyone feels more informed and involved. Alternatively, set up an online calendar and share with your family.

Don't Drop Routine…

Often parents feel that the school routine is tough and often tiring on children and that they need some freedom over the summer. However, even in the holidays children still need structure, routine and rewards for the days to run smoothly and efficiently for both you and them. 

…But Relax The Rules (a little)

Be realistic and don’t expect your days to run without any hiccups. Relaxing the rules just a little, will keep tension and dramas to a minimum and avoid confrontation. 

Budget Your Days 

If you live near a big city where free museums are in abundance, take advantage of this. Yes, they may be busy, but try and avoid peak times and you’ll be guaranteed for a great (and affordable) day out. Alternatively, consider buying a family pass for one of your local attractions (theme park/farm/bowling/whatever), so you can kill an hour or so, whenever you fancy. It’s also worth contacting your council to see what events are being held for kids, they’re often free and local too

Limit Screen Time

Television and computers can eat up a lot of your children's time during the holidays. Be strict. Screen time should only be allowed if your children have tidied their room, fed their pets, played, helped around the house and garden and completed some academic work. Screen time should be a reward that they earn not expect. 

Keep Treats To A Minimum

In the summer, children often feel that they should have an ice cream each time they spot an ice cream van and when you’re out doing fun things, they expect an array of treats too. Not only is snacking on treats expensive, they're not good for kids' behaviour, either. It may sound harsh to some, but a maximum of three non-nutritious treats a week is a good rule of thumb. Though, expect to fall off the treat bandwagon if you’re holidaying. 

Make Sure Siblings Have Time Away From Each Other

One way to stop siblings driving each other mad is to have each child play by themselves in separate rooms for half an hour a day. This will help them to enjoy each other’s company more when they are together. To reinforce good behaviour, praise siblings whenever they are not squabbling with one another.

Get Creative 

Help your children start a project on something that interests them, whether it’s sport, art, fashion etc…Work on it together daily. Praise sensible work habits and be enthusiastic about their project.

Encourage Your Child To Join In With Your Chores

To quote Mary Poppins, “in every job that must be done there is an element of fun.” If anyone knows how to find enjoyment out of the most mundane tasks it's a child. So, let them help cook dinner, weed the garden and hoover the lounge. You'll be surprised how much they will actually enjoy helping you out (though be warned they may create more mess in the process). 

Book Some Playdates

It may seem like the lazy option, but children love seeing their friends especially over the holidays. In fact, often having other children in your home can reduce the arguments, tension and also keeps your child occupied for hours. Try to invite friends whose parents are likely to repay the favour on the days that you work. Win, win. 

Allow For Lazy Days 

Book in a 'duvet day' each week where your children have to entertain themselves and you can get things done. If this seems like a recipe for disaster, perhaps just a morning or an afternoon of chill-out time (not in front of the screen) may be better received!

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