Maintaining a routine for children during the school holidays

Children, as well as parents, will anticipate the school holiday.  Whether your plan is to stay at home or travel to another location, no doubt that parents will build up some sort of anxiety related to managing their time; and in some cases situations, which might occur during the holiday period. Developing and maintaining a routine for children is not an easy task for parents. However, once this is in place, parents should stay as close as possible to what is a family routine even during the school holidays. 

The following pointers should provide a guide to assist parents in keeping routine for children whilst being able to enjoy the time away from school.

  • Make a written contract with the child/children at the beginning of the holiday period. Incorporate incentives according to parent’s expectations. For younger children, have a star chart and ensure it’s visible as a reminder of the expectations, which are given verbally.
  • Keep to bedtime routine during the weekdays. Allowing children to stay up later than usual during the week will impact on sleeping hours and makes it more difficult to return to regular sleeping habits once the holiday period is over. Having later sleep time can be allowed on weekends.
  • Provide children with a creative opportunity to learn something new. This will keep their minds active without them becoming bored or wanting to slumber with a gadget.
  • Sign up for extracurricular activities during the holidays. i.e. Summer camps, football/basketball groups, tennis, trampolining and swimming. 
  • Monitor TV / Gaming use. Encourage outdoor activities and give incentives to children for participating as well as for tasks/chore completion. 
  • Try to keep mealtimes as per usual. Having “ad-hoc” eating times can lead to overeating which can result in poor sleep routines, overactivity as well as lethargy in some cases.
  • Always plan for a family floor time activity such as board games/charades at least two or three times per week.  This will serve as a reminder that the family is on holiday.  Also, despite adhering to routines there is fun to be enjoyed.
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