We’re diving headfirst into the summer holiday. In the UK this averages at 6 weeks out of school for children. So what is there to do? And how are we going to manage it all?
As a parent there is a whole range of emotions attached to this impending break for their children. Because for a parent this can feel like anything but a break.
It’s important to remember that raising a child does indeed take a village. It is no easy feat, having the kids home for that length of time is never going to be easy. What you are feeling can be summed up into an emotional cycle that we can all relate to:
First comes Dread.
Whether you work or not, we are not meant to spend every waking moment with our children. So the concept of the summer holidays can feel intense. You find yourself pondering how you are going to fill the time, what you are going to do with them and will they be entertained enough. Along with that, where are you going to find the time for yourself? Or to even work? This can all seem very overwhelming.
One of your first thoughts could be summer clubs – there are many readily available!
Summer clubs and playdates will be a huge help in keeping your kids occupied. But then you’ll likely worry about not spending enough time with your children. Balancing work and family life can be a struggle, which is why these clubs, groups and activities are there.
Guilt is common as you are expected to book a holiday and to use up all of your annual leave, for instance. But if you do, you can’t use that time for yourself.
Allow yourself to nurture your own wellbeing, alongside your children being entertained. This allows balance, rather than spreading yourself too thin and burning out around the summer holidays too.
Guilt is a natural emotion alongside loving your children – they almost go hand in hand. But also acknowledge yourself allowing balance during the holidays.
Now you’re stressed.
Now you have a rough idea of what you are going to do with the kids and how you are going to use your time, but actioning all of this in advance can feel stressful.
A lot of the time if you are a two parent household, you will still have at least one parent working full time. In more cases than not both of you will need to work during the summer holiday. This means that there needs to be a lot of forward planning involved. And lest we forget your invisible load on top of all this.
Then some excitement.
Once your children start school, that time with them seems more precious. That doesn’t mean that you can’t feel stressed, guilty and anxious about it. Once you have taken the time and consideration of everyones wants and needs (including yours) then it can feel exciting to have some things in the pipeline.
But this emotional cycle can very well repeat itself, you’ll feel dread again as you ponder what could happen at work, what they may need from you and how you’re going to juggle it all.
But then you decide – no – this time is precious with my children, and the guilt sets in that you cannot simply evoke pure uninterrupted excitement at all the plans you have to come.
If this sounds all too familiar to you, then you can sleep well knowing that this is very common, and the summer holiday doesn’t come without this emotional rollercoaster.
What can you do about this Summer Holiday Anxiety?
Enjoying the summer break as a parent is a challenge so you are in no way expected to feel pure bliss in these coming 6 weeks.
- Remind yourself that you are human. You can’t do everything, so try to delegate some of your stresses to others.
- Find your tribe. Having likeminded parent friends are a huge benefit to make you feel less alone with your feelings.
- Plan, but don’t overwhelm yourself. The crux of the matter is, you don’t need to fill every day of your children’s time with activities. Some of their core memories of the summer could end up being a random Tuesday at home. Friday’s can just be pyjamas, duvets and film day, and they’ll love it.
- Consider what you want to do too. You are a vital part of this time for your children, so do what makes yourself happy too, and include that in your plans.