Parenting experts’ advice on summer holidays
For many pupils, the summer holidays are already underway. Following this academic year’s disruption, parents might be concerned about how to structure their children’s time.
A number of articles have already tried to provide a comprehensive answer. These often contradict one another and adopt a one-size-fits all approach. Parents come away more confused than ever.
Grounded Parents Group is an international organisation which offers personal development for parents with an emphasis on avoiding perfectionism.
Founder Terri Creeden, who is originally American but resides in Switzerland, gives her thoughts on how we should manage the challenges of the summer school holidays.
She said: “Do we double down on the math facts or double down on the fun?
“These sorts of conflicting messages from the news, teachers, and media, not to mention what we hear from other parents, our family members and our inner voice, can be too much to sort through.
“If there was only one right answer, this would not be causing us conflict. When we are hearing multiple competing opinions on a single subject, that is the signal to us that we need to gather information from trusted resources and then run it through our own personal inner wisdom machine.”
Grounded Parents encourages readers to:
Listen around: Read, listen and collect information from trusted sources externally and keep an open mind to what others are sharing.
Ask within: Ask yourself – are these true for me or for my child? What am I seeing in my home and how does it inform this decision? What do I know about my child and how does that help me know what is best for them?
Give permission: Allow yourself and your child to do what you feel is right for your family. Accept that what you choose may be different to what others do and that is OK!
Set and defend boundaries: Know that others may question your choices. Stand firm in your inner wisdom. It is not your job to make choices so that others can feel more comfortable.
Support others: Extend to others the same caring non-judgmental support about their choices as you would like to receive from them. There is no need to convince yourself you made the right call by convincing others that their decision is wrong.
According to Grounded Parents whether you are breaking out the flash cards or packing away the pencils:
Make some time for rest: Research shows that we all learn better with a happy, well-rested brain. We are all working to mentally and emotional process the past and navigate the new future. That takes energy.
Keep it simple: Don’t pressure yourself to organise and structure the perfect summer. Travel, if even possible, will be more complicated and camps may or may not be in session. Kick it old school with water fun with a garden hose and water balloons and home-made juice popsicles in the ice cube trays.
As parent leaders, we are going to have to navigate these messy new waters for us and our families, take a big breath in and exhale slowly this summer. We have some work to do ahead of us. You will need yourself at your best.