In writing this there is one obvious difference between term time and the holidays to which I will refer continually; routine. It is hoped that during term time, families adhere to some sort of routine which enables the whole family to function, as each individual attends to his/her responsibilities. Each family will have its own version of routine which enables everyone to exist and work without unreasonable impositions on others. And then along comes the holidays and, to a certain extent, this routine goes ‘out of the window’ with bedtimes leading the charge. Mealtimes become, literally, moveable feasts in terms of both time and place, table manners optional extras, screen time exaggerated, bedtimes flexible, outfits more individual, hair, jewellery and body art more ‘liberated’ and relationships with adults more relaxed. In short, all welcome the release from the restrictions imposed by the school – and so they should and embrace them too!
But, eventually, September looms and the return to school routines and norms beckons. For the good of everyone, can I politely suggest that a return to some normality is conducted in the week beforehand, as opposed to the last night of the holidays? I would suggest that the most difficult, and obvious, area to start with is bedtimes. And by this, I mean not only at the end of the day but also in the morning. Experience says that bedtimes slip during the holidays; late to bed and late to rise. Deal with the latter by getting your child(ren) up at the appropriate time and the former will be easier to deal with. If you have a term-time routine for ‘screens’, re-establish your routine, especially the amount of time allowed. Amesbury will adopt a balanced approach to the much loved holiday hairstyles and henna tattoos so nobody should worry overly but please don’t be surprised if a child is asked to get unreasonably long hair cut or they will be asked to wear it in a hairband.
To summarise, if parents are going to get their children ready for school in September, focus on bedtimes. And this advice may seem especially pertinent at the end of the long summer holidays but, in my view, is even more important after the festive period in December/January.