Back to the Future
The end is nigh. The long sunlit days are closing in and the leaves are turning red. This is the end of the holiday season. Over the last few months much has happened; the annual family summer holiday, days out in the park, time with relatives and friends or visiting special places. Children are starting school again, some for the first time. This is a time of change, but also a return to older, established routines.
It takes a long time for a family to create established workable routines, almost the whole of the year, only to see them disrupted in a welter of warm days and vacations. The long summer holidays are a time of novelty and exploration that can be both exciting and frustrating.
CHALLENGING BAD HABITS
As summer ends, parents return to work and children to school, there is a necessity to re-establish old routines, such as regular bed times, morning rituals and standard meal times. It is also time to challenge any bad habits that might have formed over the last few months, both in the adults and the children. It is so easy to stay up late when the sun is shining and there is no school tomorrow.
The long summer holidays can lead to boredom after the excitement of the first few weeks. They can also be very stressful with parents being ingenious in finding new and entertaining things for their children to do. With children at home it means juggling work and care duties. Some children will welcome the return to school, re-establishing old ways of doing things, meeting friends and facing new challenges. For the parents it can be a relief to have an established order return.
ALL GOOD THINGS END
It is best to be prepared, as all good things come to an end. During the summer break do not let the old daily routines vanish entirely, try and keep continuity, like getting up and breakfasting at the same time. This will make the transition back to the old routines smoother.
Pace the reintroduction of these old routines, so everything does not appear to change at once. A sudden change back can be very stressful for a child, especially as the holidays are so long and old ways of doing things can become a distant memory. A stressed child always leads to a stressed parent.
Treat this reintroduction as a game, so your children can become part of it. Ask them, ‘What was it that we did then that we can do now?’ or ‘What new things can we do?’ Games are much more fun than laying down strict rules. They also mean that you can be flexible, work in partnership with your child and not straightjacket yourself with monotonous practices. You now have an opportunity to ask yourself what worked in the past and what did not? This enforced break can give you time to think afresh, so be creative and involve your children in this renewal.
Moreover, forewarned is forearmed. Let the children (and the adults) know that there is an end to summer holidays and make them aware of the date. This could be leading to a time of great change, like the beginning of a new school. Spend time exploring what this means to your children and prepare them by letting them know what is going to happen and when. Children gain a sense of security if they understand what is expected of them.
IT’S GOOD TO TALK
This is also a time for parents to prepare, especially true if their child is starting a new school or nursery. They can worry if a child is going somewhere new. How is my child going to do? Are they going to be safe? Talk about your worries to the school and to other parents who have experienced the same thing. Read about it. It is vital to talk with your child about expectations for this new place. Your child can pick up and respond to your worries and fears. Preparation and talking can calm everything down for all parties. Remember, children are resilient.
September comes and a form of normality returns. Your children are back at school or in nursery and the summer vacation does not have to be worried about for another year. Enjoy it while you can before Christmas disrupts your carefully laid out routines and you have to start all over again.
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