WELL done – you’ve survived one week of the school holidays.
But there are five long, hot weeks left and it may feel like the summer break is going to end in a summer breakdown.
There are five long, hot weeks left of the summer holidays — here are our coping techniques[/caption]
Claire Dunwell has asked experts how to deal with some of the most common holiday woes.
You need to encourage kids to get used to not being told how to spend their time[/caption]
The single most annoying phrase for most parents. Despite hours of activities and playdates, the kids are already complaining there’s nothing to do.
Parenting expert Liat Hughes Joshi says: “Don’t feel you have to organise every second of the holidays. Kids benefit from boredom and learn to make their own fun.
“Boredom can trigger creative and imaginative play but you need to encourage kids to get used to not being told how to spend their time.
“Ride out the pleas of boredom. Counter it with comments such as, ‘What do you think you could do?’ and maybe have a list of ‘I’m bored’ activity ideas on the fridge.”
Maybe tell the kids they aren’t allowed any screen time until they’ve done set chores[/caption]
It’s tempting during the holidays to rely on a digital babysitter but don’t let them gawp their whole summer away in front of a screen.
Liat says: “It’s unfair to expect older kids to power down but it’s important to set some ground rules.
“Set family tech rules together. If you’re often distracted by your phone, follow the rules too. Maybe tell the kids they aren’t allowed any screen time until they’ve done set chores, some exercise, or a board game.
“Are there times when you’d like to ban screens completely? Perhaps during dinner or when they have friends over to visit.
“Tech is a battleground for parents, but you have to set boundaries. Stand firm and be prepared to be unpopular.”
Too much togetherness
Parenting expert Liat Hughes Joshi says: ‘look for free kids’ workshops so you can get on with jobs or have a break for a couple of hours’[/caption]
You love your kids, but being with them 24/7 can be exhausting. Do not feel guilty if you need a bit of downtime.
Liat says: “If you’re juggling work and household tasks as well as occupying the kids, it’s normal to start feeling overwhelmed or jaded and in need of some peace.
“If you can’t afford or don’t want to send your kids to all-day camps, look for free kids’ workshops so you can get on with jobs or have a break for a couple of hours.
“Seeking a spell of quiet every now and then doesn’t make you a bad parent — in fact it will probably make you more positive and enthusiastic when you are with the kids.”
Dr Tamara Bugembe recommends sticking to some kind of routine during the summer holidays[/caption]
Schedules can go out the window during holidays, but late nights and early mornings can mean tired and unhappy children.
Dr Tamara Bugembe, paediatrician and founder of Helperbees.co.uk says: “Children get grumpy, test boundaries and become challenging when routines are broken.
“Sticking to some kind of routine during the holidays is a good idea.
“We release hormones at different times of the day and when regular meal times and bed times are broken, it causes dips and peaks in mood.
“Holidays are about having fun but an early night once or twice a week will make everyone happier.”
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Encourage your children to try healthy habits such as cycling and walking[/caption]
Make sure kids get out in the fresh air to tire them out — and make them healthier and happier.
Dr Bugembe says: “Sunshine also tops up vital vitamin D levels which helps improve bone strength and energy levels in children. Our levels run low in winter so let the kids stock up in warmer weather.
“Letting them run around in shorts and a T-shirt is the best way to top up. Make sure they’re wearing sun cream, get outside and have fun.
“Encourage them to try healthy habits such as cycling and walking. They’ll hopefully get hooked and want to carry them on when the weather gets colder.”
Reward children for coming to a compromise after an argument[/caption]
When the bickering starts it’s tempting to intervene, but don’t be too quick.
Dr Bugembe says: “Arguments between siblings are inevitable. They teach children how to resolve conflict and negotiate. Don’t jump in to tell them to stop. Instead, reward them for coming to a compromise.
“You might have to teach younger children to consider why their older brother or sister disagrees with them.
“Helping your children understand another point of view is a skill they’ll use for the rest of their lives.”
Experts suggest talking to friends and family who might also be struggling with childcare over the holidays[/caption]
Looking after the kids and holding down a job is tricky, but sharing the caring can provide a solution.
Consumer expert Kate Hardcastle says: “School holiday childcare can put a never-ending strain on finances. With some planning, that doesn’t have to be the case.
“Talk to friends and family who might also be struggling with childcare over the holidays. Creating a team of support means you can help each other out.
“Take it in turns to cover days and set the rules in advance so no one is out of pocket or doing more than their fair share.
“Holiday clubs and activities are a great way for children to learn while having fun.”
Look online and use parenting forums to find out what products and free vouchers are available[/caption]
The kids might think money grows on trees, but your bank account tells a different story.
Kate says: “It’s tempting to treat the children, but a bit of planning could save the family finances from running out.
“Search for discount codes for major attractions and you shouldn’t have to pay full price. Look online and use parenting forums to find out what products and free vouchers are available.
“Stock up on cheap arts and crafts before trips or days out. Airports and attractions are all set up to charge astronomical rates for cheap items such as pencils and sandwiches.
“You don’t need them. Take food from home and get your children to save up for a much better gift as a back-to-school treat.”