The long summer holidays are almost here in Australia. Yippee!
For parents the idea of spending six weeks with their children is no doubt a truly joyous thought – but also a bit stressful!
Getting through a six week vacation relatively unscathed might seem very ambitious. Arguments around going places, spending money and screen time can be so wearing for parents. But with a little planning (and even a little Christmas spirit), I really believe that this long six week break can be the perfect opportunity to recharge and get family bonding back on track.
Here are some of my top tips for surviving (and even enjoying) the Summer holidays:
1. Set Boundaries
The best way to avoid arguments is to set boundaries right from the start. Whether it is holiday spending money, screen time or social activities, ensure your kids understand what the rules and limits will be right from the start of the holidays. If you have a laminator at home (the best thing I ever bought!) why not event print it and display in the home?
2. Don’t Demonise Technology
The biggest concern of many parents is managing screen time during school holidays. Technology is very alluring and engaging – particularly games. Kids quickly become extraordinarily engaged and lose all concept of time. So, setting limits is important but also trying very hard not to demonise technology is essential – any negative connotation given to technology may prevent your children from sharing any online issues such as cyberbullying or approaches from strangers with you in the future.
3. Make a Plan
Make yourself a nice cup of tea and spend an hour pulling together a loose program of activities. Make sure you weave in a good dose of free ones (beach, walks, playdates – at home!) Most local councils offer several weeks worth of well-priced holiday entertainment. And if you are a working parent, why not check out the great range of overnight holiday camps that would be offered by your local State Department? – in NSW, the Office of Sport and Rec runs fantastic camps, or see if your local area runs short summer courses for your kids to learn a new sport or activity.
4. Embrace the Festive Season
Regardless of your religious beliefs, the holiday period is a great time to gather together with family and friends. If you haven’t already developed family rituals, why not start this year? Perhaps a neighbourhood Christmas gathering, a bush walk in your nearest national park or a boxing day swim, a New Year’s Eve trip to see the fireworks, a beach picnic for New Year’s Day and of course an Australia Day BBQ. Creating rituals around key calendar events is a wonderful way to bring family and friends together and create a true sense of belonging – an essential ingredient when raising children.
So, don’t stress - the holiday season can be the best time of the year. Just follow my tips, breathe deeply and I’m sure it will all be grand!
Till Next Time