February half term is here and how exciting!
It’s perfect opportunity for rest, renewal and restoration. It is a time to relax, after the long winter months. For some parents, it’ can be a time of overwhelm, being anxious and worried particularly if we are not prepared for it. It doesn’t have to be. We can do a few things and make it memorable!
Tips for surviving half term
As human beings we tend to thrive in an structured environments. When we are at work, we know how our day is going to be. This allows us to plan and apply ourselves. The same is with children in nursery, school or uni. The structure doesn’t have to be rigid at home.
Plan the week with your children. Get them involved in what activities they would like to do. What does each typical day look like?. Give them something to look forward to as an incentive for good behaviour as well. It could be a sticker, play date, favourite meal, dessert date, lunch date or visit to the zoo. Rewards charts with stickers are great with toddlers. Older children still love to be rewarded. Whatever it is, let it be what your child/ren enjoys/ loves. For teens it could be a date with their friends or that lip gloss/ t shirt they have always wanted.
Explain what’s realistic and teach on meeting expectations, affordability, priorities etc.
Children blossom when they know what’s expected of them. If you want them to help more with chores have conversations about it and put it down on a family calendar or A4 piece of paper that you can stick on the fridge. Praise them for completing tasks. If they are struggling in certain areas, talk about and see how best you can help them.
Because it’s half term, we do not throw away the boundaries. Continue to limit screen time and enhance social, face to face activities. Encourage good behaviour amongst siblings again by setting a standard/ expectation. Teach them about being kind and helpful. Find books in the library that talk about such things. Team work is good for any family.
If you work shifts, if possible arrange with another trusted mom/ friend/ family member so you are well rested and enjoy time with children. Request time off to be with your children. You will not regret it, even if it’s only one day.
Take turns to babysit the children, that way you do not burn out. As migrant families we may not have a family nearby, however we can establish safe relationships with other families in our churches, at school, work etc. Make sure you know and trust them.
If not possible to find baby sitter, let expectations be clear with children , partner or older child. If mom is tired from working last night and would like to sleep until such a time, explain to the children. Make sure they are safe before nodding off 😇
Depending with the age of your child ideally you don’t want to deviate too much from what you do during the school week. For instance if your five-year-old was going to bed at seven or 8 o’clock you can encourage them to go to bed an hour later and try to avoid them going to bed at midnight. That way you do not disrupt their routine too much.
Lie ins can be a blessing if well tolerated. Hopefully when they go back to school the mornings will be much brighter and not a struggle to get up.
Have lots and lots of fun. Watch your favourite age appropriate movie/ show. Go to the park, bake, cook, play board games.
Tell them stories of you growing up. Bring out the family albums and talk about family tree etc. When ours were younger, we loved the family sleepovers on nights when both parents weren’t working the next day. Grab your mattress , cushions and sleeping bags if you need them and lay in lounge, enjoy your family show. Tickle them. Play hide and seek.
Try to be outside for a minimum of 30minutes. Recycled oxygen in the house will leave everyone feeling rugged with cabin fever. Fresh air will do everyone a world of good.
Below are some ideas of things that we can do with our children for different age groups
-Local library (reading and activities in the library)
-Local churches (parent-child activities)
-Children centre activities
– Walk in the woods
– Lunch/ dessert/ dinner dates
-Crafting (Poundland, Wilkinson’s, B&M)
-Local Park.. put their coats on and play for 10-20mins, it will be worth it in the end when they have burned that energy.
Search in google for FREE half term activities in your local area and pick 3 or 4 things to do.
Remember it is YOUR half term as well, to rest from those early morning school run.
Would love to hear how you are getting on this half term.