Summer holidays are coming, and parents up and down the country will be asking themselves how they’re going to keep their little monsters occupied from now until September.

let’s face it, 6 weeks is a long time, Days without structure can seem endless as boredom creeps in, little ones become fractious and parents increasingly stressed.

I can’t promise an Insta-perfect family summer, but there are a few things you can do to make the holidays go a little more smoothly.

Plan Ahead

If you work, research well in advance what summer clubs are available, as most will get booked up months in advance.

If you have a partner, try to split your leave between you. Did you know that if you’ve been employed for over a year you’re entitled to 18 weeks’ unpaid leave for each child, up to their 18th birthday? This may work out cheaper than paying for summer clubs, but you will need to give your employer plenty of notice.

The limit on how much parental leave each parent can take in a year is 4 weeks for each child (unless your employer agrees otherwise).

Have a routine

The truth is that children thrive on routine. Even if it’s as simple as going out somewhere each morning, an indoor craft/activity on the afternoon, and 30 minutes of reading every evening.

I’d also recommend sticking to fairly fixed meal times. I strongly believe that children cannot differentiate hunger from other feelings, mainly tiredness and boredom. If you’re not firm on this they’ll be constantly nagging for ‘snacks’. Remind them at school they survive perfectly well on (at most) a morning snack, lunch and mid-afternoon snack

Set expectations

Young children especially may find it difficult to understand that just because they’re on holiday doesn’t mean you are too (as much as you’d love to be)

If your parenting style is anything goes, good for you. But if you find yourself stressed without a routine, have an informal family chat to set expectations. i.e you’d like them to get themselves up and dressed, make their beds, keep their rooms tidy (ish) etc.

If you’re going to be working from home some of the time, make it clear in advance that they’ll be expected to amuse themselves during this time. At the start of the holidays encourage them to make a list of things they can do by themselves and make a challenge of seeing how many they can tick off by the end of the summer

Get outside

Kids tend to behave better when they’re outside, Try to leave the house every day, even if it’s just for a short walk. This gives everyone a reason to get dressed and creates a bit of a routine. Plus it will burn some energy off. A change of the scene can also help everyone re-set if there have been squabbles. Mix it up by visiting new places. If you are friendly with other mums in your area, why not suggest a meet-up at a local park or outdoor cafe so you get a bit of grown-up interaction during the day too?

Explore Free activities

While the weather is fine, there are plenty of ways the keep children amused for free; Visiting local parks, playgrounds or any green space is a great way to keep little ones busy at zero expense.

But if the weather takes a turn for the worse, it’s worth checking out what free indoor activities are available. Local libraries are a wonderful resource, they’re not just for books, many have toys and games and most run activities over the summer holidays that are free or very affordable.

Check out local museums, many are free entry and they may have activities going on over the summer.

Screen time

Screen time can be a sensitive issue for parents, and the cause of many family arguments. I have always believed it’s okay , As long as time limits are set and kept to, younger children are always with an adult when online, and older children and teenagers let you look at their phone whenever you ask (if they refuse it there may be an issue)

that said, i wouldn’t beat myself up about allowing children extra screentime during the holidays, especially if you’re working from home

Lower your standards

As someone who finds cleaning therapeutic, I do find it hard to follow my own advice on this one. But, once children are home 24/07 it’s best to just accept that your home is going to be a bit of a mess. It’s not the end of the world. Trying to maintain term time levels of tidiness will just lead to exhaustion and resentment, but more importantly, you’ll miss out on spending time with your family.

Tidy round once they’re in bed and keep the bathroom and kitchen clean, the rest can wait until September.

Whilst it may seem never-ending now, soon enough they’ll be back in school. And years from now, when they’re remembering their summer holidays, they won’t remember how clean the house was, but they will remember the fun times they had with you.

Like this, read

more like this

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *