Don’t just survive school holidays- thrive during them

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The team from your favourite online workout are winding down for another year. But we thought we’d give you the best gift of all- a guide to thriving these school holidays and festive season.

online workout body beyond birth

Photo by Alexander Dummer

Here comes another end of year. How on earth did that happen?! In Australia, that means 6 weeks of making sure the kids are content, happy and having a good time. That’s a big ask for any person. Especially as we also have to look after our own needs amongst it.

So we’ve put together some suggestions on how to get through the holidays unscathed. But beyond that, to be able to find some time out for you, too.

It’s time not to just survive school holidays but to thrive through them with more than an online workout to get you through. Here’s how.

Make daily life a game

Forget trying to find time for yourself or to squeeze in an online workout. Your biggest challenge will undoubtedly be those wonderful kids! We all know the drill, no matter the plan, the kids will be calling out “MUUUUUUUUUM!” 100 times a day and the house will invariably end up looking like a scene from a horror film.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you tired of having to fight for basic chores to get done?
  • Are you sick of following a trail of holiday destruction from room to room?
  • Is there only so many times you can bribe the kids to pay attention and be good?

Why not flip the process in your favour with a little kid psychology and reverse engineering?

Adding a gamification element to getting the things you need done can do wonders to moving the day along. As Kyle Seaman’s TEDx talk parenting in the modern world points out, the reason kids are resistant at bath times, during meals and homework is because it’s the time of day where they get to exert influence.

And that if you recognise the element of ownership, challenge and that desire to push the envelope into the parenting mix, these situations may actually start working in your favour.

During school holidays is a perfect time to put this theory to the test. Think about the ways the kid’s can take ownership of keeping themselves entertained, clean, the house tidy and things running smoothly. Then design and invent games around the situation.

Check out Kyle’s video, put it to the test and report back! We’re all ears to what you find.

Realise it’s OK for kids to be bored

It’s hard to parent in the day and age of tablets and smartphone apps. But not for the pester factor alone. Kids need to be bored. The trouble is boredom is blocked by the availability of technology through games, puzzles and the internet. Their brains are getting an online workout and this can have some unexpected side effects.

It’s also incredibly habit forming to use technology on a regular basis. So it can be especially hard to peel kids off electronic devices.

Children also need time to feel less occupied and downright bored in order to help them to grow. Several studies have shown that boredom helps all people relax, think creatively and use their brains to best effect. This is truest with our children.

Kids need to be bored so they can learn to figure out how to problem solve and cope with their whirring brains. They also need to be able to daydream and apply their imagination when props and technology are lacking.

Unstructured play in children (the fancy pants way of defining boredom) allows kids to become a well rounded child through applying their own creative thinking, finding fun and applying social skills.

So the next time the kids plonk themselves down on the couch and complain of boredom, don’t reach for the iPad or hand them your phone. Explain boredom is a part of life and let them work it out for themselves safe in the knowledge you’re doing the right thing by their brain and imagination.

They may not appreciate it, but you surely will! You may even be able to get in an online workout of your own if you play your cards right.

Move from referee to coach

Fighting in the car travelling to holiday destinations and fractious kids testing your patience with squabbles and “he/she started it” battles- these are the sounds of school holidays. But you don’t have to accept it as normal holiday behaviour.

It’s not up to you to blow the whistle and keep the point score.

Instead, try using it as an opportunity to coach the kind of behaviour you’d prefer.

First of all, aim for some preventative measures. Be mindful how your kids play and do what you can to ensure that the same child isn’t left out of playtime, friend visits and special events.

Also recognise that age differences will mean that different responsibilities and boundaries are used to have cooperative play. But it’s important not to always make older kids responsible for every situation or allow smaller children too much leeway.

Encourage sharing, but also allow your kids to have their own special items and time outs so that personal space is respected.

If you’re tired of repeating the same thing over and over again, why not apply a little democracy? Sit the kids down and ask them what their opinion is on what makes for a happy holiday experience. Let them set the boundaries when it comes to play time, sharing and what it involves. Then share these rules with the rest of the family by placing them somewhere where everyone can see them.

Don’t forget kids need routine. Even in holidays, it’s a great time to keep meal times, baths and things like screen time to a timetable.

Consider incorporating family exercise time as well. Yes, that means scheduling your Body Beyond Birth online workout and perhaps scheduling some kind of movement for the kids at the same time.

And don’t be afraid to schedule some me time in for the grownups as well so the kids understand that you are not at their service 24/7!

The key to thriving during school holidays

No other time is as testing on parents than school holidays.

The number one tip for these holidays is to praise the good behaviour as well correct the bad. If the cooperating and sharing is happening, if kindness abounds and play time is fun and accepting, don’t forget to notice it. Kids want approval and want to feel good. So it doesn’t hurt to give compliments when they are due.

And don’t forget to extend the same courtesy to you, your partner and any other adults helping with the holiday policing as well! Parenting is often a thankless job. But a little care, consideration and recognition of your own job well done can do wonders for you, too.

Kids are going to fight. They will make mess and they can be less than ideal when it comes to keeping themselves entertained. Not even SuperMother can avoid these issues. But you can help your kids find a happier holiday vibe. And you are allowed to extend that to yourself.

No matter your plans for these school holidays- don’t just survive, thrive! Take the power back. Have that cup of tea and make time for that online workout. Gently coach the kids towards self reliance and happiness and enjoy the difference.

Have you got any tips you’d like to share? Feel free to pop them in the comments below.