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Working Parents often struggle with filling the summer holidays and making them memorable for their children.  This year there are the added  complications of cancelled holiday clubs, postponed trips abroad and 4 months of already living in each other’s pockets.  Many parents and carers thought that removing school from the equation would make life easier.  However, they are learning that there is a big school shaped hole in the day that their children are needing filled.

Over the past few days, parent after parent has come to Educating Matters sharing in this experience of guilt and overwhelm and frustration and worry and bewilderment and and and …  For many of these parents, it comes down to one critical point.  They don’t know how to navigate “The New Normal” when it includes a summer holiday without the typical support systems they are used to relying on.  Here is a lifeline to get you going to help calm the chaos in your home and in your mind.

Start Where You Are

Simmering in a pool of guilt and regret does not serve you.  Processing this is important.  However, it can be an enemy of progress.  Move from a place of forgiveness and understanding for yourself.  Whether it is the first or the 3rd week of summer holidays, opportunities to have fun and do better are there.  Take a day to plan.  Then, implement that plan.  Remember that done is better than perfect.  We are looking for a way to make the time you have left less stressful and good enough for your family.

Set a Budget (Daily and Monthly)

I cannot stress this enough.  Many people are under the impression that not going abroad will save you money exponentially.  Whilst this can be true, it is also true that staying at home can make the pounds fly out of your bank at a slow and steady pace.  Several days out in London can quickly add up without you realising.  Also, you may be buying toys, games, crafts and other items to fill the hours at home. 

In your budget, include the obvious things like food and ticket prices.  Also, include things like art supplies, souvenirs, travel expenses and a snack budget big enough to keep hungry kids at bay.  Pad it out for extra splurging and impulse buys as well.  This way, you aren’t having to dip into the Christmas budget to pay off summer.

Use Tech Wisely Without Guilt

With access to peers and clubs restricted, kids are going to be on tech more.  There is no point feeling guilty about that.  How we use tech can be a great benefit for us and for them.  Got a meeting that you are leading?  Time for their favourite movie.  Need the kids to take a break from each other to get some space?  Allow access to individual tech.  Need you children to pick up a book?  Earn minutes by reading pages.  Tech is an amazing tool that can be utilised for the benefit of everyone in the family.  Having structured access, rather than unlimited, is a great way to break up the day and allow you to get work done.

Schedule Time for Self-Care

Self-care is the first thing parents throw out the window when schedules feel tight.  However, during an extended time like summer holidays, burn out can come quickly and everyone in the family suffers.  Find creative ways to take a break.  This could be as simple as scheduling in 8-10 pm to sit on the couch and watch a movie with your feet on your partner’s lap or reading a full chapter of a book or dancing around to music.  Find what recharges your soul and do that.  You are the most valuable resource in your family.  Take care of yourself.

Educating Matters is offering our Staycation Matters webinar to help families get through the holidays.