We were so lucky to all get back to school for the final few weeks of term. The children were able to socialise with their peers and it gave them closure; an ‘end of term’ rather than lockdown merging into the long summer holiday. I hope also that you, as parents, were able to enjoy some time away from your children to either go back to work or have some much deserved time to work on your own mental health and well-being.
Now that the summer holidays are well underway, some areas of the children’s lives are getting back to what they remember as normal, however, with some restrictions on travel still in place, it may not be the summer holiday they, or you, were hoping for or have grown accustomed to. You may find yourself spending more time with the children at home which, after months of lockdown, may seem rather unappealing or daunting. During this time, it is important that you and your children have a break and continue to work on your well-being and mental health. Below are a few tips on what you can do as parents during this time.
Mindfulness is a scientifically-proven meditation technique that can help to combat stress and improve focus and academic performance. The more your child engages with this at a young age, the more they will get out of it as they grow older and encounter more of life’s stresses and worries. There are some great free apps and websites that can help get you started and provide some guidance for beginners.
Get out of the house. I don’t need to tell you about the benefits of being physically active but now that some restrictions have been lifted and outdoor areas are opening up, it is a great opportunity to get out and about in your local area as a family and enjoy where you live. Look for ways to get active as a family, a walk, trips to the park or even just spending time in the garden.
It’s good to talk
During the holidays, there may be some anxiety about what the new school year will bring or some lingering worries about the strange term which preceded the summer. Now can be a great time to reconnect and communicate one to one. Re-establishing the home as a safe place for discussion and communication is so important, so, keep: talking, listening, hearing, hugging, sympathising, smiling, reassuring, checking, sharing, suggesting, encouraging and respecting each other!
switch it off!
Our everyday lives are full of news, social media, work emails, mobile phones, tablets and games consoles. All of which are important and have their place but a family digital detox can be so rewarding. Looking at photos on Instagram of friends having the ‘perfect’ summer holidays can make us, as parents, feel guilty or inadequate but it is important to remember that this is only an edited version of reality. The news at the moment can be a little bleak and depressing. Many of us have access to work email on our phone which tie us to the office when we should be enjoying family time. Switch it all off for a few hours a day and use that time to be more present with those you love.
Whether you are at home with your children this summer or you are having to juggle childcare, holiday clubs and work, I hope you find some time to enjoy the sunshine and make some lasting memories with your families.
See you in September.
Deputy Head, Pastoral