Managing Families Wellbeing Through School Holidays

July 15, 2022
Asifa Rapaiee

About the author: Ashleigh is the owner of AD Counselling & wellness and Elements Wellness Studio. She has worked as a therapist and wellness coach for around 7 years. She has a genuine passion for promoting healing, personal growth, self-discovery and recovery from within.

There is no question that the school holidays can be tricky for parents to navigate, balancing work, home life and parenting throughout the summer is difficult to manage, we rely on the school routine for our children’s structure, social support and brain function. When structure, support and brain stimulation is removed it can be problematic to wellbeing, and common for unhealthy habits to be formed, therefore It is important to pay extra attention to our families wellbeing around these times.

Here are a few pointers to consider when navigating school holidays.

Keep routine
Having structure and routine within the family unit is a protective factor for maintaining good mental health and wellbeing. Routine signals change of the time of day, lets us know when to nourish the body, exercise, relax and rest. Keep as much routine as possible through the summer months.

Choose age-appropriate activities
Consider your child’s age and stage of development and plan around that, remember trips that our kids previously enjoyed can be outgrown. If you have a few different age ranges, if possible, give the older children a choice of when to partake, it is important to promote autotomy with our teens (forcing a teen to soft play is never going to end well!), however that being said it is also good from time to time to set boundaries around non-negotiable family outings such as walks, cinema trips etc.

Spend time doing nothing
In today’s busy world with ample opportunity for activity it can be natural to fall in the mindset of wanting to “do” all the time, over stimulation can be detrimental, it is important to allow our children to be bored, being bored will give the child space to tap into their creative mind, boredom can help develop skills, creatively and self-esteem.

Form healthy habits
Practice self-care and regular exercise, these healthy habits can be for the whole family to enjoy. Set chores for each family member to maintain throughout the summer, not only is it practical help, it will give the kids a sense of purpose, research shows that having purpose in our day/week can promote positive wellbeing and improve cognitive function.

Lastly enjoy it, choose your battles and take the foot of the pedal for a while, in summer we will naturally be less productive, enjoying the lighter months to rejuvenate and take pleasure when possible.

Useful resources:

Teenagers and boundaries

Creativity and our mental health

Social media and mental health

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