Holidays are about kicking your feet up, relaxing and getting away from the usual routines. That’s how kids see holidays.
Holiday time can be stressful for many parents. Keeping kids busy, avoiding arguments and getting time for yourself can be hard parenting work during holidays. But school holidays don’t have to be stressful. It’s a great opportunity to get your family back on track, build strong relationships and set the tone for a positive future. These ideas will help:
Establish a holiday routine
Some kids feel comfortable with the routines of school-life and can feel lost until the new holiday routine kicks in. Be patient with these routine-junkies! Also make sure you begin adjusting the routine as a return to school comes closer, so that the kids are prepared for going to bed and getting up at earlier times.
Holidays and slow times provide a great chance for learning and making a fresh start in any part of your life, including parenting.
Resist being an entertainment officer
While we want our kids to be occupied, it’s worthwhile remembering that kids also need some downtime. The opportunity to relax and unwind is a prerequisite for good mental health, so make sure the kids have an opportunity to take a break from the usual grind, and become bored. “I’m bored” is an invitation for kids to keep themselves occupied rather than for you to keep them amused.
Arrange plenty of green-time, less screen-time
It’s well documented that today’s children spend more time in front of screens, and less time outdoors. It’s no coincidence that this increase in the use of digital devices by kids has been accompanied by a spike in anxiety. Recent research shows how time spent in natural environments is refreshing, relaxing and rejuvenating. Science now supports what we’ve intuitively known. These holidays ensure both you and you family have less screen-time and more green-time.
Create one-on-one time
At Parenting Ideas we believe that individual relationships are built through one-on-one interactions. If you’ve a child who is struggling or even annoying you a little, consider increasing the number of times you spend in each other’s company these holidays – doing something pleasant together. Just the two of you. It’s like money in the relationship bank account.
Regardless of your individual circumstances and your religious beliefs the holiday period is a great time to bring family and friends together. Creating rituals around key events is a great way to build strong family bonds and create a strong sense of family belonging for kids. Keep festivities simple. Be flexible enough in timing to include as many people as possible. Keep calm and include kids in some aspects of the organisation of festivities if possible.
Team up with other families
Team up with other families and share the holiday load. You don’t have to holiday together to gain these benefits. Share the child minding with a friend or swap sleepovers where “you look after my kids and I’ll look after yours” for a night or two. This will give you a break while giving children a different family experience.
Prioritise parent education
Holidays and slow times provide a great chance for learning and making a fresh start in any part of your life, including parenting. If most of your recent parenting education has consisted of the learn-on-the-run kind, consider using the coming down time to gain some new skills and knowledge that will positively impact your future parenting. Watch a webinar recording, read a book, take a course. There are plenty of learning opportunities available for you. Just as big hinges swing big doors, sometimes small parenting changes and adjustments can have a massive impact on your parenting.