Dreading the summer holiday juggle?

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The days are longer, the nights are lighter, and the sun is (mostly!) shining. The summer is finally upon us. But whilst the summer usually brings sunshine, smiles and sandy hands, there are also many days during that long six-week period that often feel like a strain.

It’s ok to feel nervous about the impending summer holidays. Whether it be stress regarding going away on holiday, anxiety about visiting friends or travelling around due to some of the COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, or a nervousness about how you will juggle your job and the children, it’s perfectly normal to feel those flutters of apprehension.

As always, the first step is just to notice your worries and anxieties around this period. Only then can you begin to tackle them head on.

A survey of parents conducted by Sphero before lockdown, found that a massive two-thirds of parents dreaded the summer holidays and admitted they had no idea how to keep their kids occupied.

72 per cent of the 2,000 parents surveyed, revealed how much of a struggle it is to keep their children occupied and away from screens and tablets, while one in three admitted that they wished their children would spend less time watching TV during the holidays.

Certainly, the long summer holidays and finding engaging activities for the kids to do has always been tricky for parents. Yet, since COVID-19 and the various lockdowns we have all experienced, the situation is perhaps yet further exacerbated.

Parents have been scratching their heads for over a year now to find new ways to amuse the kids at home. And indeed, many have been pulling their hair out trying to find ways to juggle their working life, whilst their children are off school. If you are currently living in dread over the looming summer break or are worried about doing the juggle, here are our three tips that might just help to avoid that feeling of overwhelm:

  1. Set a routine: Almost all children do better with some form of structure and routine – in fact we all do. The key here is setting some form of routine and sticking to it. This means waking up at the same time every morning and going to bed at the same time at night. Just because it’s the holidays, try to avoid the temptation of sleeping in or late-night sleepovers. In the same way, keep mealtimes regular too where possible. If we schedule our time, we’re more likely to stick to doing the things we need to do and feel less guilty about doing the things we enjoy. Not only will your children do better with this routine, but you will thank yourself as well as you will be able to plan your working day or chores around it too.
  1. Open honest communication with your employer: If you do need to work during the summer holidays- and let’s face it – many parents will, it is important to speak to your employer about what you need to get your job done. The focus for you as a family is to create a work-home synergy that suits your individual needs, and this means negotiating this with your employer. The emphasis must be on both parties here to make this work. Taking the initiative to start an honest and open dialogue with your employer – one where you share your true reality – could help create a flexible working package for you that reduces daily stress and anxiety. Ultimately, this will make you more productive throughout your working day too.
  1. Practice acceptance: Remember that as a parent, it’s important for you to be pragmatic about what you can control and learn to accept you can only do your best. Try to recognise the additional input of hours needed from you as a parent during these summer weeks and turn your mind towards acceptance and compassion. This could greatly improve your ability to navigate this time. It will also make you a happier person, which no doubt your children will pick up on too.

Navigating the school summer holidays is never going to be simple for parents and ultimately there are always going to be days when you feel like you haven’t quite got the balance right. But that is ok. By following these three simple tips above, it should help you to feel a little more in control of the situation so that you can enjoy the time yourself and ensure that the summer break is a time to look back on fondly.

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