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Summer holiday survival guide for parents

Posted on 18 June 2018

With the school summer holidays just around the corner, most parents are mentally preparing (and booking) various activities to help the time go a little smoother. 

Whether you are working or not, the summer holidays are a time of earned relaxation for the children but are hardly that for parents. With another full year of school under their belts, children look forward to lazy days, picnics, trips to the park with friends and the occasional day trip. And that’s just the first week! How can parents take the stress out of balancing the right amount of chill out time with trips out and all that goes on in between?

With most children living in dual-income homes, working out childcare is often an impressive juggling act that involves a hefty amount of planning. Building on that is the fact that children can share their exciting days out with their friends via social media, meaning the pressure can mount on what a ‘cool’ day out actually is. And somewhere in the list of worries is the concern that your child might spend the whole holiday on their screens, instead of enjoying the great outdoors! 

In fact, these concerns all rolled together, can lead to what a recent survey called FOSH – fear of summer holidays. So how can we plan, prepare and enjoy a positive summer break?

Days out for less

It’s easy to see how even a walk to the park can be met with costs – even the ice cream vans are ready and waiting to serve up costly treats. It all adds up after a while. Set aside a budget for trips and ask your kids to get involved with where to go for the day. Not all days out are costly. Many amusement parks offer two for one deals. Giving them a choice allows the kids to feel part of the decision-making process. (And they may learn to budget too!) 

Days out with the kids is a site that offers a great range of options for things to do, varying budgets and locations depending on how far you want to go. 

Get Reading

Using books to get out and about this summer can be a really useful way to create a theme around your outings. Choosing a book for a family read aloud, that has a specific location to visit after, perhaps a film night to coincide on a rainy day, all feels like a very easy, yet proactive way to involve the family in reading. From The Gruffalo to Peter Pan to The Hunger Games, you can creatively work a range of activities from a single source of inspiration.

Finding Day and Summer Camps

Apart from the high costs, day camps are a necessary part of many children’s summer holidays. With both parents working or managing from a single-parent home, a lot of families rely on these camps to get through the summer. Day long activity camps range in price but tend to book up quickly, so be sure start looking at what’s available by the end of June.

If your children are slightly older, you could consider an overnight adventure holiday. These ‘summer camp’ style breaks for kids are great for building confidence.

Reduce the screens

Children often feel they ‘deserve’ their screen time simply because they have finished school. Create limits and stick to them, however difficult it is. Managing the screen time early on is key – allowing it to overrun too often will prove difficult to handle. Use Childnet’s guide for keeping children safe online to help with understanding technology and parental controls.

Just have fun

If you’re working, save some evening time to let loose with the kids. Camp out in the garden. Buy some sensitive shaving foam and let them go wild outside. Pretend you’re shipwrecked and challenge their survival skills. Go for a walk in the rain. Take the bus to the shops if it’s not part of your daily routine. If it’s raining, make a fort inside, have an indoor picnic, or a dance party.

Those weeks will fly by and you’ll be longing for warm days before you know it.