The summer holidays are approaching. Those without kids or that love summer and heat, usually approach the holidays with joy and happiness, but for those that have less simplicity around the holiday period, there can be some trepidation. For parents, we have the joy of spending some proper quality time with our kids 24/7, for however long we’re fortunate to do this; and we also feel apprehension around exactly how quality this time will feel, peppered every 15 minutes with snack requests and squabbling or moans about being bored. Life sometimes feels like hard work, trying to make sure we enjoy what we can, and cope with what is less enjoyable.
Below I’ve listed some tips for summer, some for parents, some for everyone:
- Make some plans that you know you will enjoy – whether this is a holiday, a camping trip, some walks in nature alone, a dance party in your backyard – whatever floats your boat.
- Make sure you have some days booked in that are for just you – no-demand days where you can choose exactly what you want to do with zero pressure – you can sit in your pants on the sofa eating cereal, you can lie in a hammock in the garden with a good book, you can go for an outdoor swim or do something scary you’ve never done before – or anything in between!
- Book some days seeing people that nourish you, that you feel safe to be yourself around – doing activities that are stress-free.
- If you have kids:
- focus on self-care – sleep well, eat well, and make sure you book in regular time – days or hours – where you can be alone
- think about making lunch boxes for each day, including lunch and snacks – this can help stop that endless request for food
- have a think in the morning about activities you can direct bored kids to, when you feel the energy is rising in an ‘imminent storm’ kind of way – arts and crafts, cheap and easy science experiments, dance party in the lounge, make some ‘bath’ paints and have a fun shower or bath as the focal point of a difficult day, think of local walks that are easy
- if you’re having a bad day, don’t feel guilty about letting them have screens – if you struggle with letting your kids watch ‘rubbish’, you can find some good and fun maths or other educational apps, or there are some good educational TV shows – something like Minecraft also encourages creativity, and improves spelling and reading skills – screen use can function as important down time for children who may be getting sick of their siblings or struggling with a lack of structure in their days
Sometimes a bit of planning helps ensure that days are manageable and more fun. If you’re having a really bad day, use your go tos – take away pizza, cereal day (if you have kids, they’ll think it’s an awesome treat, not a sign of a failing parent!), watch a film on the sofa (you may even catch a sneaky snooze).
And remember that social media doesn’t always present the full picture. Just because society tells us we all ought to be having fun in the holidays, most people struggle at one time or another, and all those glorious photos others post may have squabbles hidden around the corner, or stresses you cannot see. Don’t compare yourself to others in terms of what you feel you ought to be doing or feeling, and allow yourself to be who and how you are.
As a reminder, I don’t take on new clients during the holidays, and only work with existing clients by prior arrangement.
My main success for the first half of this year is starting my new YouTube channel (The Rambling Counsellor) – please free to subscribe or follow me for therapy thoughts, life tips, or thoughts around neurodiversity. My planned goal for the second half of this year is getting my therapy cabin completed (see photo!). I hope to post from time to time over summer on my YouTube channel, but will otherwise be back in September. Wishing you all a wonderful summer!