If you stay at home with your kids, whether you work or not doesn’t matter; summer holidays are a time of unadulterated chaos. Chores and work fall by the wayside and the lack of routine causes many children to become unruly. So how can you mitigate this effect and make sure you can keep up with everything you need to get done but still have happy, well-behaved children?
There is a big temptation to let things slip during the summer holidays, but don’t let that sway you. Rooms that need to be tidy during schooldays still need to be tidy during the summer. Retaining the routine tidying at the end of each day allows your children to retain a sense of routine and stability. Of course you can be flexible when there are games that will span various days, but you can stick fast to some standards, too.
Plan your activities for the week to come every weekend and use a day planner or a calendar to keep track of them. Allowing your children to track what will happen when will give them a sense of control and help them feel more secure. Museums, shopping trips, panto, and summer classes such as swimming or circus school can be excellent ways to keep your kids busy, and you can write them all down and leave the schedule within plain sight so your kids know what to expect.
On days when you have nothing planned, pencil in the park or a similar free activity. You can have a picnic and have your children help to pack things, or you can all go shopping together for essentials such as ready-made sandwiches or Lunchables. Giving your children a sense of choice in what you all take along will help them enjoy the day, and even nipping to the shops can become part of a fun activity.
When your children know that they will get to partake in fun activities, they will be far more amenable to letting you get on with whatever you need to do. Use your calendar (or whip up a spreadsheet and print it off every week) to mark off time when you will be working and needing quiet time. For younger children, this can coincide with naptime. It is an excellent plan to buy or borrow books every week so that your older child has something new to read; you’ll be encouraging reading and keeping them occupied.
Even if you don’t technically need this time off, it’s a good idea to schedule it anyway. Having a couple of hours per day to do what you want to do is a good plan, and you’ll be able to relax a bit and avoid feeling claustrophobic during the holidays.
Don’t rely too heavily on the TV; if you schedule in TV time and let your children each pick one show to watch during that time, they will learn to appreciate the telly more and you’ll be able to ensure they get more quality time in.
The summer holidays can seem like a looming stretch of madness. But if you pay careful attention to scheduling and are willing to spend some money, you can keep your kids busy, help them learn, and be sure they will have a lovely time and behave accordingly.