Creating quality time with your child in the school holidays
School holidays are here - and the juggle is real. With possible work commitments, managing multiple children's needs day in day out for more than a few days at a time can be a challenge. Below are a few tips that may help everyone to enjoy the holidays.
One idea is to get yourself a big piece of paper and draw out a calendar for the holiday period. Designate a different colour to each family member (including parents!) and begin to write in what is planned for each day. This calendar should include everyone's activities – work for parents, day camps, play dates and trips away. Once the calendar is written it is easier to visualise what needs to be organised and you can then write your to do list eg: which days you need to arrange additional childcare.
Utilising Support Systems
Don't be afraid to utilise support systems you have during the school holidays. Whether you have extended family, a network of friends to share the load, access to paid school holiday activities, or resources to pay a babysitter, don't feel bad reaching out and asking for help. Asking a friend to have your child over for an afternoon, and your mother in law to have the other, can create the much needed time to spend with child #3. Building a support system that you trust, whether its unpaid or paid, is invaluable.
Creating Structure Around Free Play
One of the biggest frustrations for parents during school holidays is that their children can't be left playing together for long without fighting. One way to combat this is to design and organise structured activities for some of the time that your children are at home. One example could be a craft project and each child is given their own 'set' of equipment eg: paints to use. This can prevent fighting, as conflict between siblings is often triggered by their inability to share. If you can not be there to supervise the kids while playing, for example, while you are spending time with Child A, setting them up with separate activities can also work well for children who don't yet have the social skills to negotiate playing together for longer periods of time. Eg: One child can be outside on the trampoline and the other can be in their bedroom with their toys. Other activities include visiting the local park, going for a walk, kick a soccer ball, visit the beach, just getting outdoor and having fun.
Although during the school holidays, children are generally less routined and structured, it is still important that they have some time to relax. This can be screen time or free play outside doing something they enjoy. This should be a time when they are allowed to be themselves and do what they want without any demands put on them and this in turn allows them to fully relax.
- Chappy Tim