31. Jul, 2016

Supporting mothers through the summer holidays 3

Five tips for a less frazzled Summer!


1. Brainstorm activities with your children

Activities are important to stop the children being bored but sometimes it can feel like a daunting task for parents to plan exciting activities for such a long time (not to mention the expense) so a wise way to approach this is as a collaboration.

Ask your children what they would like to do over the holidays using some ideas of your own as a starting point. Creating a simple mind map on a piece of paper and then sticking the resulting plan on the fridge is all you need to do and you can tick the activities off as you do them. This is great for giving children a sense of responsibility and they might surprise you with the things that they want to do which might be as simple as going to feed the ducks or revisiting a local park.

2. Make time to relax

Activities are important but so is down time for you and your children. Modern life has become so fast paced and learning how to actively relax as a child or teenager is an important life skill that will help them navigate exam stress, friendship difficulties and eventually the world of work.

For younger children something that is both active and relaxing is a good place to start, something as simple as blowing bubbles or reading stories can be great fun whilst relaxing.

3. Talk about emotions

Watching the new film Inside out as a family offers a great starting point for adding to children’s emotional vocabulary.

When you can talk about feelings together children have a better chance of working through their big feelings and coming out the other side.

4. Take a different approach to dealing with arguments

A useful approach which I share with parents and use myself is FAVE which stands for ‘first acknowledge, validate and empathise’. Everybody likes to be heard and understood when they are upset.

In practise it may sound a bit like this: Validate - 'You’re feeling angry that your sister has the toy that you want to play with'. Acknowledge - 'You really want the toy'. Empathise - 'It’s hard waiting for her to finish playing with it'.

Generally this helps children to feel listened to and understood. It helps them to learn how to articulate their feelings which can lead to them being able to speak up for themselves and sort out their own disagreements.

5. Inject some fun into the day

It’s easy to get bogged down in ‘holiday parenting’; the rain spoilt the trip you planned, the kids won’t stop arguing and everytime you check facebook it seems like everyone else is having the best time ever.

One great way to inject a bit of fun into the grumpiest of days is with some music, which is a great mood enhancer. Make a playlist with a title like ‘Family Dance Party’ – get the children to include their favourite tracks and add some of yours too.

You’re aiming for lively and upbeat, anything that will get everyone moving. When it’s getting late in the afternoon or you’ve not had much chance to get out due to bad weather announce that it’s time to boogie and throw some moves on the living room (dance) floor!

For more ways to help your family become more calm and connected find me on facebook at Connect Emotional Education 

First published at