1. Embrace existing routines
If you can allow yourself a lie-in. Lie-ins allow the body to recover, but too much sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health. It’s ok to relax your routine a little, but when you are juggling work and children all day, try to go to bed at a reasonable hour, and resist taking your work emails with you, take a book or magazine instead. If you can have a lie-in, get up not much more than an hour later than you normally would. Have a shower and get dressed, even if you have a golden free day. You’ll feel refreshed and more energised.
2. Plan the holidays
If like me you don’t have a nanny or immediate family close, and you’re struggling to get your children motivated, planning their time with you can help. Give them something to do every morning and afternoon, and make sure they have a good mix. Consider allowed scheduled time for gaming, reading, writing, painting, jigsaws or watching TV and add in a couple of chores (even if that’s emptying the dishwasher or picking up clothes!)
It’s not just to keep us parents happy (although that’s a bonus), it’ll give them a sense of achievement and make the ‘down time stuff’ more enjoyable.
3. Implement a summer of self-care
Be kind to yourself, that’s what self-care is all about. Listen to what your body and mind need and committing your time to things that make you feel good. Check in with yourself each morning and evening to see how you’re feeling and if there’s anything extra you need. Try a few minutes of a mindfulness podcast or feeling fresh air on your face via a short walk. Try making a list of some feel-good things and plan them out for the weeks ahead.
4. Get outdoors
If you live in a city it might feel like you’re miles from the countryside but if you visit your local council website you will find resources for easy access walks, visiting free parks or nature reserves. Planning time within the day, week, or weekend to get outside for a walk with the children, not only gives you valuable head space away from the computer, but ensures even if it’s for 1-hour, healthy exercise for you and your family.
Six + weeks of school holidays can feel like a lifetime. Having company for your children is important for everyone, so make an extra effort to connect with family members or other parents and encourage your children to keep in touch with friends if possible. I shared a nanny once over the summer with a friend to cut costs, and it was a lifesaver, as I was able to work, and my son was happy and busy!
Children can feel lonely over the holidays if you are working full time, so planning any on-line free workshops, or investigate summer-camps they could attend for half day sessions or full days, they may moan but will more than likely be smiling when you collect them at the end of the day.