The summer holidays are around the corner and can be exciting for children, but can be overwhelming too. If you are worried about the children coping in the summer holidays, do not panic, we are here to help. For the kids, the summer holidays seems like they will last forever and are filled with possibilities and imagination, so it is easy to appreciate why, at times, it can all get a bit much for them and impact their mental health. We are going to take a look at how you can the most out of the holidays for the children, and keep their mental health in tip top shape.
Maintain Their Routine
One of the biggest, and easy to overlook factors, regarding the summer holidays, is the massive change in routine. Kids go from being up early every day, getting washed and dressed, eating their breakfast, leaving the house at a certain time, following a routine at school and in most cases a strict bedtime.
They revel at first in the absolute freedom of the holidays and the potential that they hold, but forgetting routine can have an impact, particularly if you have a child who thrives with a schedule or is neurodivergent.
If the routine goes out of the window there can be a sense that control is lost for the children, it can create a feeling of being adrift, a loss of direction and it can exhausting.
Keeping a firm but somewhat flexible routine allows the children to feel safe, they know this, they are used to this and it feels right. That’s not to say they have to do the same things every day, keep the important stuff in line with term time, such as getting up, bedtime, getting dressed, any chores they have and so on.
When you are flexible and let them stay up a little later, or sleep in, this will them be seen as a treat, a positive impact as opposed to weeks of directionless confusion.
It will also make returning to school a lot easier.
Make plans in advance and include the children in this. This doesn’t need to be a day by day plan, spontaneity can be magical when it comes to any of us, let alone children, but planning one or two activities each week during the holidays again provides a sense of security.
The children will have an understanding of what is coming up, giving them that sense of control again and it also builds excitement. They have things to look forward to, which can be a incentive for better behaviour.
You do not have to make big plans, they can be anything from building a sandcastle at the beach, to painting in the garden, from baking to a visit to a theme park.
Keep your plans varied, get outside in the fresh air and make sure you make time for friends (both yours and the kids).
We have an article coming up all about creating a Summer Bucket List with the kids, not only will it be packed with fun ideas, but a couple of ways to create your list too! The article will be available from 5th July 2023!
Have a reward system
Whether it is an established system or a new one, it is good to reward the children for positive behaviour. It allows them to see how well they are doing and gives them a goal to work towards that promotes them being happy, joining in and behaving in a way that is healthy.
This has a wonderful impact on their mental health, improving their mood, giving them confidence and building their self-esteem.
Embrace Their Imaginations
Get involved with the kids, let them see you reconnecting with your inner child. If they build a cardboard box castle, become a princess, a night or a dragon! When they make mud pies in the garden, get creative with them! If they are pirates on the high seas, become a shark or the captain!
This gives them not only an element of control, which as we have said can make children feel secure, but it feeds their imaginations more and creates memories that will forever be imprinted in their tiny minds. These memories are fantastic for building all the things kids need when thinking about mental health – confidence, self-esteem and a positive outlook, to name a few.
Of course this is not an exhaustive guide, we’ve tried to highlight the areas that we feel can be most impactful on children and how they are able to cope during the summer holidays. Do you have any tips or advice for us in keeping the kids mental health in tip top shape during the summer? Let us know in the comments or on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter,
Check back with us soon in our Wellness & Self-Care section for how you can survive the summer holidays and keep your own mental health in tact.