It’s that point of the school year that I start to look forward to and dread in equal measures, the summer holidays! I’m definitely looking forward to no more school runs and no sorting the uniforms out, and I am absolutely looking forward to not breaking up fights whilst trying to get my kids out of the door on time!
However, past experience has taught me that the summer season with kids at home is NOT a break and after two lockdowns I’m even more apprehensive.
I mean even if you love your family dearly, being cooped up together for too long can result in stress. Add excitable children, cousins, siblings and adults who behave like children (you know who you are) and you're basically asking for chaos.
So, with all that in mind here are some tried and tested tips for reducing your family's stress during the holidays, and no, it’s not just a membership to a gin subscription and a kids’ club – however that’s not a bad idea!
Those roads are likely to be busier than your average year due to the pandemic, so plan ahead with lots of time to spare as it will help you keep the peace with everyone and prevent you from yelling at umm, everyone. Put alerts on your phone with reminders before you set off to double check the most important items: phones, chargers, tablets, special teddies that help your kids sleep. Can you tell I’ve learnt from experience with this?
Kill them with kindness
Families, eh? It’s “so” nice to finally spend time with everyone again … and then you remember quickly that your brother annoys you like no other and your mother is one challenging character. Combat getting wound up and falling into the trap of being dragged down by adopting a ‘kill them with kindness’ attitude. Become armed with positive comebacks and decide that it is just not worth it. It will turn their mood around — or at the very least make them look like the unreasonable one instead of you.
Happy wife, happy life
Try waking up an hour before your kids roll out of bed or stealing 30 minutes on your own to relax during nap time. And remember, putting them on some tech for a bit isn’t going to ruin their lives and will give you some valuable time out. If you are lucky enough to have supportive relatives, swallow your pride and ask them to put your kids to bed so you can have a minute to yourself. As the saying goes: selfcare isn’t selfish, its survival!
Comparison is the thief of joy
Nobody's family has a perfect holiday. Nobody’s!! So, don't get wrapped up in trying to keep up with the Joneses to look Insta-perfect. If it happens, great. If it doesn't, don’t be too hard on yourself. Being together and having a good time is the goal, don’t set yourself up to fail by imposing impossible standards your family is unlikely to meet. Trust me, it’s a waste of time and being in the moment is way more important that getting pics of everything “looking wonderful”.
Sibling rivalry aka World War 3!
Kids fighting! We can’t ignore it, one minute they can be besties the next they are tearing strips off one another.
According to my research from actual parenting experts (aka not me), try to make sure everybody gets enough attention and that nobody feels left out, let down or thinks their sibling is getting more of anything than they are. Also, encourage using words to express themselves rather than pulling hair or smacking each other.
And lastly … just getting them into a separate space for a while can help to get them to calm down so they can get along again. Sibling fights often stem from being a bit too close for way too long.
I hope this helps, if it doesn’t then I say pour a wine and rest assured the holidays won’t last forever and you know you will miss them when they are back at school … maybe!
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