11 ways you can survive the summer school holidays

Wondering how you’ll cope with the long summer school holidays? Read 11 ways you can survive them. 

Do you relish the thought of the long summer holidays with your kids or does it leave you with a cold sweat? For me, I can’t quite decide, I am like a pendulum swinging back and forth.

While I love the idea of having a more laid back approach to life, slowing down the pace and having a more ‘go with the flow’ attitude, I run my own business. So how do I balance it all to ensure everyone, including me, gets what they needs from the summer?

What I do in most moments of crisis or with the big questions of life, I run to Google for inspiration. This is great for information gathering, ideas sharing and to plant seeds of thought that perhaps you would not have arrived at on your own.

In addition to this, this summer, I have decided to trust my gut more. I am going to try not to compare my summer with those around me and to call on what has worked and not worked so far with my eight previous summer experiences being a mother.

11 ways you can survive the summer school holidays

So, with that in mind, here are eleven ways I’ve picked up over the years to help you to survive the summer school holidays.

1) Be realistic

Really look at what you are actually going to achieve over a break with the kids at home especially if you are having to balance work as well. How many hours do you have in a day, a week, to dedicate to your work, your kids, yourself? Do not, and I repeat do NOT set yourself up to fail even before you have started by trying to plan or cram too much in.

2) Use holiday clubs

There are wonderful opportunities out there in your communities, set up to give your children enriching experiences and in some small way save your sanity. There are so many out there for all budgets, seek them out and give yourself some time back.

3) Communicate

I find this really is key. If we are not communicating effectively what our expectations are for ourselves and the family, then how is anyone else going to know? I will always remember when I told my daughter off for something, and she came back to me with ‘but I just didn’t know mummy’.

4) Make agreements

What can you agree in discussion with your family prior to the commencement of the holidays? What are your and their non-negotiables?

For example, are you going to fill every moment of every day with memory making experiences for your children? Or are you expecting them to be independent for portions of the day? Are you going to relax any of your family rules, like bedtimes for the summer?

5) Set chores

What age appropriate chores can everyone (even toddlers) take part in to be of service to your household? Everyone needs to play their part in your household; you are neither their servant nor their maid!

6) Have routines

Children thrive on routines. During the summer months we can become a bit more laid back about them, which is usually when trouble can rear its head as children do not know what is coming or what to expect.

A routine does not need to be so prescriptive that means there is no room for flexibility or teachable moments. But it IS good to have a general structure to your day, such as: breakfast, chores, outside time, lunch, activity or experience, independent time, dinner, bedtime routine etc.

7) Ask your child

Ask your child what they like to do, achieve, experience this summer; give them a voice in your home. This is especially important if you are raising a tween or a teen. Our children like to know that their voice is being heard. It does not mean you have to agree, but you have listen to understand.

8) Be selfish

You need to put yourself first from time to time as a parent in order to be there for your family as the best possible version of you that you can be. Go out for coffee with friends, date night with your partner, book a massage or just make time in the evening for a relaxing bath and a good book. It is not all about our kids – this is your summer too.

9) Work out screen rules

Our children today grow up with technology surrounding and influencing them, in a way that many of us never experienced growing up. You need to work out in your household, what you are happy with, and what rules you want to apply and uphold over the summer. For example:

  • Will phones be switched off between certain times?
  • Are phones permitted at the dinner (lunch, breakfast) table?
  • Do your children have to do chores/school work/outside time in order to ‘earn’ the wifi code?
  • Where are phones charged and kept over night?

10) Plan family time

In our house we take it in turns once a week over the summer to plan a Family Night. We have a family night poster that is laminated and put on the fridge and each week, we discuss options, set the date and the time and pop the information on the poster for all to see.

They are usually low cost things that focus on us being together: pizza and a movie, cooking a meal together, going bowling, taking a walk by the river and having ice cream when normally my daughter would be going to bed… you get the idea. What could you intentionally set out to do with your family?

11) Plan, full stop!

I am a big planner and organiser, drives my husband potty that I always need a plan! However, putting the pre-thought in does help. Can you create a list of what you would like to do over the summer if time, weather and cash flow allow. This list can then be referred to when you are planning your week, weekend or time away.

The list can include things like teaching the kids to cook a meal or allowing learning time each day. It does not always need to be: take them to Legoland or fly to Paris (although both a wonderful experiences to have)!

How will YOU survive this summer?

My approach this summer is to be a bit more ‘go with the flow’ and a bit less ‘in control’; to plan for success and to put myself first every now and then. What are you going to do to survive this summer?

If you’d like more summer holiday survival tips, we recommend reading these articles:

Anisa Lewis is founder of ParentingSuccess Yorkshire. Find out how she can help you make sense of parenting.