Some simple day to day consistency can go a long way!
The summer school holidays are often a time where routine and the day to day “norm” can go out the window. Whether you’re staying home for the holidays, or heading away to explore, holidays with kids are about planning for short attention spans and creating ways to keep them occupied, whilst not un-doing all your hard work that you have put in place throughout the year.
Holidays need to be fun and relaxing, however many children benefit from routine. Stick to a couple of basics to help the kids adapt through this period.
Limit computer/screen time
Watching movies, or playing on a tablet are easy ‘go-to’ options to keep the kids busy throughout the holidays. It gives the parents some down time, and the kids are generally happy. Keep in mind to limit how much time they are on a computer or tablet. Playing games, or getting outside is important to ensure they are stimulated in other ways, and to give their brains some ‘rest’ time.
Eat regular, healthy meals
Eating out goes hand in hand with going away on holiday, but try to keep the sugar to a minimum, and keep the kids eating healthy options. Fresh fruit is a great afternoon snack. This will assist when you are heading back to school with healthy lunchbox options.
Stick to consistent meal and bed times
Whether you’re at home, or away, try to stick with the regular times the kids would normally have their meals and snacks. There will of course be days where you’re out with some friends at dinner, and the kids go to bed a little later. However a mostly consistent bed time is important to ensure kids go back to their normal bed time when school returns.
Keep some of the normal day to day repetition
This could simply be getting the kids to still make their bed each morning, or having them clean up one activity before they move onto the next one. These small things are what you may expect from them throughout the year, so keep them going in the holidays, so you can also stay sane!
Whilst kids thrive on routine, it doesn’t have to be the same routine you would normally have throughout the year. However, putting in place some basics and consistency each day will save you the struggle of getting the kids back into a normal school term routine come the end of January. You may need to remind the kids about rules and routines if away on holidays. For example, only go swimming with an adult, always wear sunscreen and a hat outside, or always tell parents where you’re going. They need these reminders constantly. as their brains continue to grow.
Written by Rebecca Deane – Clinical Psychologist – www.creatingchange.net.au