The summer holidays bring a change of pace that children and adults alike look forward to every year. Routines become more relaxed and schedules are looser. This year, the unexpected great weather has added new levels of enjoyment – more trips to beaches and lakes, eating al fresco and seeing ice pops as almost medicinal. The only real intrusion on the longer, lazy days is the constant ‘back to school’ marketing that we’re hearing and seeing everywhere. Children are reminded that the break is temporary and parents are reminded of the financial pressures of sending children back to school.
September is often considered more popular than January for making new resolutions. With new uniforms and shiny new school bags comes the promise of a clean slate. The summer break, therefore, might be the perfect time to take the time and space to think about little changes that you can make as family ahead of the new school term.
If the morning routine in your house can be a little chaotic, for example, think about how you might change it. Experiment during the holidays with things that might make it run more swiftly. Maybe try getting up 15 minutes or teach older children how to prepare and pack their lunch the night before. They will learn new life skills and you’ll free up some precious time in the morning for the usual last-minute tasks, like locating missing school bags.
Downtime over the summer is also a great time to support or encourage activities with your children that will benefit them later on. For younger children who are starting school for the first time in September, you could practice the route to school together so that it becomes familiar to them. For children who find reading homework challenging, take trips to the local bookshop or library and find books that suit their interests. When they can read in their own time and at their own pace, they are more likely to enjoy it. Swimming in school can be a little daunting so use the summer to visit the pool that your child’s school uses. As well as enjoying a swim together, your child will know how the lockers work and where the showers are before they go with school. This familiarity can remove a lot of stress ahead of starting a new school activity.
Once the term starts things get busy and we tend to just do things the way we always have. With a little practice and a few trial runs over the summer holidays, you’ll see that small tweaks can lead to big changes. Parenting can be tough so anything that lightens the load is always good!