It’s not hard to dread crazy school holidays. But hang on. What do you do with that thought?
Hands up! “Do you love school holidays?”
We’re in the middle of the summer school holiday period in the Southern Hemisphere. So the question today is: “Do you love school holidays?”
What about crazy school holidays? Do you love them?
I’ve found that mothers of school-aged children have so many responses!
I was a little stunned when my friend Anita, a pre-school mother said, “I can’t wait for school holidays! It means we sleep-in. Take our mornings slowly. Eat when we feel like it, and chill out together.” Her idea of school holidays was so different to mine! But because Anita is a relational-type person, and loves the break from the daily grind.
On the other end of the scale Julie, a working mother, is much more like me when she complained, “School holidays are such a pain! I have to think about what the kids will do while I’m at work. And at home, every time I turn around they’re there. I can’t get a thing done! I’m looking forward to term time, so we can get back to normal.”
Just like me, Julie is much more “tasky” than Anita, and hates her routine to be upset.
My Wake-Up Call
I used to think like Julie. I was complaining to someone one day about how little I was getting done and how much I was looking forward to school starting.
All she did was raise her eyebrow.
And suddenly, I realized.
Oh my goodness, did I really say I was looking forward to NOT having my precious children with me?
That conversation was a wake-up call, and made me aware some major changes were due next time our crazy school holidays came around. Because, realistically, those days were never-to-be-repeated weeks of family living. While for me it might be an annoyance, for them it was a haven away from the stresses and demands of school.
My wake-up call was realizing I needed to make the most of that haven.
Get your PDF with 100 cheap activities to fill your holidays >>> Relational vs Tasky Types
But to make my home a haven, I had to stop being so tasky! I so love to get things done. But perhaps you are “relational”, and like to spend your time chatting with friends? These two personality types are rarely talked about. Read about your relationship preferences to find out about relational-versus-tasky personality types.
After my friend picked me up on my attitude, I made a change. Instead of thinking about my lists and jobs during school holidays, a very tasky response, I began to ask myself different questions: What will I do to make sure the school holidays are great, not just for the kids, but for me as well?
In fact, even if it might be crazy school holidays, they are a blessed space, and having my children around meant I could have more personal impact on them.
In the end, my attitude could make or break the time off school. For all of us.
How can I make sure our crazy holidays go from just OK, to great?
Thinking about it, I realized I could vary my response to crazy school holidays: Push through like a control freak, and hate the interruption to my routine. Or, I could love it, and attempt to relax and enjoy my children.
In the long term, would those weeks become valuable memories, or lost in the everyday muddle of growing up?
I decided to get better at relaxing during the school holidays. I wanted to make the days away from the school routine rewarding for all of us.
So, could I look after them (be relational), AND look after me (get things done)? Probably not. It was better to major on relationships, and put less focus on tasks. This shift changed our school holidays and stopped me going crazy! So perhaps this perspective will stop you going crazy too.
“Time spent playing with children is never wasted.” Dawn Lantero
Five Major Changes Which Stopped Me Going Crazy
1. An immediate attitude-shift about school holidays
School holidays are not a waste of time. Instead, it’s possible to look forward to them with expectation and excitement. Being anxious about how much you will achieve just rubs off on the kids. On the other hand, view school holidays as an opportunity. Then, both adults and children are more likely to have a great school break.
2. Relaxed my expectations
Relax about personal agendas and expectations. Holidays aren’t about your own lists and agendas – that’s a really tasky view of life! Give yourself permission NOT to get stuff done. It makes things much easier. If you have to do things, be clever about it and schedule them in ways which don’t affect the children quite so much.
3. Make some plans
Plan for holidays in the context of the larger year. Perhaps your family budget can extend to a holiday away from home every couple of years. So have a think about how you could have a good time when staying at home? And how do the seasons affect what you might do? How often can you, and/or the children, go and stay with grandparents or other family members? And how much is too much?
4. Go for a trip down memory lane
Think back to what you family did when you were growing up. You probably have some special holiday memories. While you never want to copy your childhood – that would never work – do have a think about some highlights, and what your parents did to make holidays special times. Take time to learn from your past.
5. Re-member – Make your family whole again
- Re-connection The most important thing about a break from school is the time to re-connect as a family. This is natural for relational-type people, and hard work for tasky-types. I noticed that almost always, as the school holidays approached, everyone in our family got tired and crabby. It became easy for siblings to annoy each other. Instead of being a cohesive unit, families often become disconnected with their school routines. Using school holidays to re-connect is important.
- Re-creation Have you ever noticed that “recreation” can also be written as “re-creation”? During school holidays, you have the opportunity to create “new” and “fresh”. You can provide a stress-free space where children can wind down and enjoy each other’s company again. By the end of the holidays the laughter is back, they can care for one another, “see” one another, and have fun. Families become united and whole again.
- Re-energize To make holiday times special, re-energize! That starts with slowing down and, surprisingly, allowing boredom to take over. Boredom is good! Don’t feel you need to plan every minute of every day. Here’s a great article which says, amongst other things, “It’s actually more constructive to see boredom as an opportunity rather than a deficit.” Remember to make some space to go slow, making the space to re-energize.
“Children need to sit in their own boredom long enough for the world to become quiet enough so that they can hear themselves”
Dr Vanessa Lapointe
So get to it!
You will never waste time by intentionally creating a haven, and a relational space for your children. Which is precisely why I’ve created the downloadable of 100 School Vacation Activities for you. ENJOY THEM!