Summer holidays have never been needed more - and never felt more peculiar. With pandemic measures swinging like a pendulum and quarantine rules as unpredictable as a toddler’s mood, we’re all admittedly a little stressed.
Although summer holidays are usually the best time of the year, it’s a little more stressful for parents (working or not) this year. What to do with the kids, where to take them, and how to keep the new normal...normal.
The key to managing much of the changes going on lies in one simple word: routine. Like adults, children find routines incredibly containing. Being able to predict what is going to happen next gives young children a sense of safety.
Easier said than done this year? Well, it’s not so much about sticking to your home routine as it is about finding a new holiday routine. Here's what to focus on.
Prioritise sleeping and eating
Try and stick to your child’s sleeping and eating patterns as much as possible. For toddlers and preschoolers, keeping to a consistent eating and sleeping schedule makes it less likely they’ll have a meltdown.
Get your kids involved in household chores
Young children love feeling important and helpful (even if it doesn’t look like it at first). Don’t think you’re being a ‘bad’ parent if you give your little one daily duties. Summer holidays aren’t a housework holiday and it’s a great time to start teaching your child how to help. For tips and ideas, check out “Household chores will change your child's life”.
Get everyone out the house once a day
You can build an entire day around one activity that anchors the day — the library (if it's open), the park, the grocery store. Arrange to meet a friend or someone in the park so your child can run around, have a picnic lunch and then head home. The rest of the day's routines fall more easily into place. And if the weather is bad - well, you're probably a master at indoor activities and ideas after surviving lockdown!
Have a loose plan for each day
And keep it on the fridge. This is key to avoid children whining about being bored or fighting with siblings. Try to arrange regular activities that have an element of challenge or purpose - even if this is going to the grocery store and teaching your little one to be your shopping assistant. You don't have to fill each day with special activities - the four cornerstones are sleep, eat, exercise and stimulation!
Alternate 1:1 time with your children
Children thrive through bonding and attention from parents, especially one on one time. Alternate with your partner and each take your child once a week on a special 'date'. This might be an early supper picnic in the park or a special walk before bedtime together. Use the opportunities pandemic life offers to keep things a little slower and more local.
The EasyPeasy Parenting App is ready to download! It's full of tips, creative play ideas and activities which fit into your daily parenting routines. Whether you need new games to play in the afternoon or fun ways to prevent tantrums, our app is designed for you!