The Parent Survival Guide to the Summer Holidays
Being bored can be a good thing: it encourages children’s creativity and enhances their problem-solving skills.
It also encourages imaginative play, which is the ‘superfood’ of a balanced play diet.
Children tend to like predictability, so try and stick to a loose structure over the holidays. Setting mealtimes and bedtimes help to keep children in a routine making the transition back to school easier. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics: “Every family needs routines. They help to organize life and keep it from becoming too chaotic. Children do best when routines are regular, predictable, and consistent.”
As well as having structured bedtimes and mealtimes, you may also want to factor in the duration of certain activities: screen time, reading, music practice etc. It’s a good idea to use a timer for these so that children can see how long they have left – it could help avoid the arguments when play time ends!
In addition to factoring in the duration that your child has for activities, also think about the best time of day for them: the morning may be better for music practice and bedtime more suitable for reading. And remember that it is recommended that children (and adults) switch off screens at least an hour before bedtime. According to Harry Fortuna (writing for Quartz): “Of more than five dozen studies looking at youths ages 5 to 17 from around the world, 90% have found that more screen time is associated with delayed bedtimes, fewer hours of sleep, and poorer sleep quality.”
Getting them to help
Sadly, the holidays doesn’t mean an end to household chores…so why not get the kids to help you out? It will probably take longer – and will more than likely be met with reluctance – but it means that you don’t have to do everything yourself.
Make chores playful and get everyone to pitch in: try putting on lively music in the background, or making it into a race. Research claims that children, from a young age, should be helping around the house: “Parents who don’t give their children chores at home may be slowing their development.”
A jar full of ideas
We love these boredom buster jars!
- You will need a lolly stick for each day and a jar
- Divide the lolly sticks into four groups and colour code them, for example: type of activity (food related, craft, excursion…), budget (free, cheap and blow-out…), duration (an hour, all day…) and location (at home, local or further afield).
- Each day, get your child to pick out a lolly stick to determine what the day ahead will entail! (You could pick out the sticks for the week ahead on a Sunday night if you feel that you need more time to play!)
- Write an activity on each lolly stick ( ‘Visit the museum’, ‘Create a home cinema’, or ‘Go bug hunting’
So, with a little planning and some loose routines, the summer holidays can be made much more manageable and enjoyable for the whole family.
Bonus: Try out our Activity Randomiser for some inspiration on what to do this Summer!
Photo Credit:child development, chores, learning, play diet, Routine, summer
This post was written by Claire Gillies