The summer holidays are an exciting time for children and families, filled with opportunities for fun and adventure. However, as a parent, it can also be a challenging time to manage your mental well-being. So here’s my parents survival guide for the summer holidays to help you juggle family and work – and keep your stress bucket empty.
Read on for my tips and strategies to help you maintain your own well-being while still ensuring a memorable and enjoyable summer for the entire family.
1. Prioritise self-care
A lot of my clients are parents who have put off therapy for themselves. They will think nothing of spending time and money on their families. But they leave themselves languishing at the bottom of a very long list. Now, let me tell you this – you’ve got to look after yourself first.
You know when they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first on the plane – well the same applies here.
If you’re struggling with stress and anxiety, you’re not going to be able to be there for your children when they need you most. So, it isn’t selfish to look after yourself.
Because when you feel good then you have more to give to your children, too. During the summer holidays, it’s crucial for parents to carve out time for themselves. So this has to be my top tip for this parents survival guide.
Here are a few self-care strategies to consider:
Set aside specific times each day for self-care activities, whether it’s reading a book, taking a relaxing bath, or enjoying a hobby. Communicate these boundaries to your children and emphasise the importance of respecting your time.
Reach out for support
Don’t hesitate to ask for help from family members, friends, or neighbours. Consider organising playdates or swapping childcare duties with other parents to give each other some time off. Find your support team.
Embrace early mornings or late nights
If you can muster up the energy use the quiet hours before your children wake up or after they go to bed to engage in activities that rejuvenate you. It could be exercise, meditation, reading or simply having a peaceful cup of tea.
2. Engage in productive planning
With the children around 24/7, planning is essential for maintaining your sanity and ensuring everything gets done. Consider the following tips:
Create a schedule
Develop a daily or weekly schedule that includes a balance of activities for the children and essential tasks. You know the cleaning and shopping still need doing so you have to factor that in. Incorporate regular breaks for yourself, ensuring you have dedicated time for personal responsibilities.
Involve the kids
Encourage your children to participate in creating the schedule. This not only empowers them but also helps manage their expectations and reduces resistance to planned activities. It also helps them to understand that they are part of a team called ‘family’ and that everyone should pull together to make sure things get done.
Explore local parks, museums, and attractions to create exciting day trips or short getaways. Research child-friendly activities and events in your area to keep the whole family engaged and entertained. Again, get the children involved in researching and planning trips, too.
3. Foster Family Connection
Summer holidays present a wonderful opportunity to strengthen family bonds. Here are some ways to plan enjoyable activities that bring everyone closer:
Schedule dedicated moments for family bonding, such as family game nights, movie marathons, or cooking together. Engage in activities that allow you to connect and have fun as a family.
Plan outdoor activities like picnics, hiking, or cycling. These experiences not only provide an opportunity for exercise but also encourage exploration and appreciation of nature.
Engage in community service projects as a family. Look for local charities or initiatives where you can contribute your time and effort together. Volunteering instils values of empathy and compassion in children while fostering a sense of purpose.
4. Encourage Individual Interests
While family time is important, it is equally essential to support and encourage your children’s individual interests during the summer break:
Enrol in Summer Programs
Explore summer camps or workshops tailored to your children’s interests. Whether it’s art, sports, or music, these programs offer a chance for them to develop new skills and make friends.
Allow your children to have unstructured playtime where they can explore their own interests and creativity. This not only fosters independence but also gives you some time to relax and recharge.
Encourage reading by setting aside quiet reading time for the entire family. Visit libraries or create a cosy reading corner at home. Engage in educational activities like science experiments or DIY projects that nurture curiosity.
Parents Survival Guide
Surviving the summer holidays with children requires a delicate balance of self-care, planning, and quality family time.
- prioritising your own mental well-being
- engaging in productive planning
- fostering family connection
- supporting your children’s individual interests
you can ensure a summer filled with joy, personal growth, and lasting memories.
Embrace the challenges and opportunities this season brings and remember to take care of yourself so that you can fully enjoy and cherish these precious moments with your children.