School Holiday Survival Tips
For a lot of parents the school holidays can be a time of mixed blessings. It often feels like a time that accentuates the perpetual juggling act that parents find themselves in, between children, home, work/business and own needs. It can be a time that is long awaited, to spend time together, to go on holidays, no school run; it can be a time where both parents have to split their annual leave to cover the childcare leaving very little time for family time, dashing in opposite directions to take the kids to multiple different childcare options , siblings squabbling and parents longing for adult company!
This blog is for all parents, whatever your circumstances; working full time, part time, term time only, self-employed or stay at home parents. Everyone has their own stuff they struggle with, especially during the longer school holidays. You are not alone whatever you are thinking or feeling about the pending holidays. You are doing the best that you can, with what you have.
Tips from mums themselves
I put a request out, asking mums what helps them get through the holidays, and had a variety of responses. Hopefully there will be some useful ideas for you, whatever your circumstances and ages of your children:
- Draft in reinforcements – ask family or friends for help, or swap childcare. This is a win, win. You get to help each other out and the kids will be happy having time with other kids.
- Manage expectations of the available time – both for you and the children. If you have limited time to get things done, you will need to focus on the essentials and be realistic about the time that you have available.
- Get organised. It will help you and the kids know what’s happening when the usual routine is out of the window. Laura (Pen and Mouse Design) has put together this fab holiday planner to help you get organised and involve the kids (follow the link for the full planner).
- Consider getting help if you can afford it, whether it is outsourcing elements of your work if you’re self employed, or getting a cleaner, or additional childcare options.
- There is a huge pressure to go out lots in the holidays and have picture perfect days, but often the kids are usually happiest in a paddling pool with some pots, so ignore social media pressure to be “busy out”
- You don’t have to entertain the kids every second of the day that you are with them. Boredom is good for children, it helps them develop their imaginations and creativity (link to USA article)
- Plan a “treat” day out that you can all look forward to
- Organise group play dates and trips out. Arrange some days out with mum’s with kids the same age, so much more enjoyable to get some adult company and entertain the kids with friends.
- Discover your local free places that you can explore, with a picnic, (beaches, parks, country parks)
- Invest in a trampoline in the garden!
- Factor in some “adult recharging time” in whatever shape or form this takes (exercise, reading, music, socialising, quiet time, bath etc). Making sure you don’t get forgotten will allow you to be more fun, patient and tolerant through the holidays. Two of my favourite places to get things for a bit of a self-care boost are
- Switch off autopilot. Are there things that you could do slightly differently after work, that you wouldn’t do during term time, especially in the summer holidays? Walk or bike ride after dinner? Eat outside? A car picnic? A film night mid-week? Doing something outside the normal routine will boost your mood and help you feel connected to be kids mid-week whilst work is still happening.
- Share the good stuff and the frustrating stuff with your friends. Remember that for every ‘perfect’ looking picture and story told on social media, there will be the crying, screaming, chaotic, disorganised stories that aren’t shared. Your friends will be relieved to hear they aren’t alone!
I’d love to continue to add to this list of tips, so if you have some you’d like to share pop them in the comments section.
Whatever things you use to enable you to get the most out of the holidays, remember you are doing your best and you are not alone.
If you would like to connect with other like-minded mums who are trying to keep everything juggling without dropping anything, and remember to nourish themselves, come and join in the conversation in my private Facebook Group, Cup of Tea and Clarity. Together we will offload, laugh and survive the holidays!