To panic or not to panic?

Two weeks from now, lessons, in whatever format they’ve been delivered over the past weeks and months will come to an end. It may have already ended for you and your kids.

Given how long the academic year is, and how gruelling it’s felt for families since lockdown began in March, another two weeks might not seem all that significant in the grand scheme.

Indeed, many schools are tapering off teaching new material and learning new concepts for their students and opting instead to enter a period of review and reflection.

Now that government has given some clearer guidance on the future of education, come September we know we’ll be sending our children back into the halls of academia. This decision comes with obvious benefits, like re-establishing face to face contact between students and teachers, as well as the welcome renewal of daily and weekly routines. Structuring our time, sometimes thought of as tedious, gives both us, as parents, and our children security in its predictability.

So over the next 14 days, what can families do to prepare for the summer holidays and to make the most of that time before returning school?

Firstly, and this may come as a shock coming from someone with so many years of education experience, I’m taking a page from schools and saying, book learning can take a back seat. Now, obviously keeping up with some learning is important, but now is not the time to panic over lessons. In fact, now is not the time to panic over anything at all.

The idea of taking the next two weeks to reflect on all that’s happened since lockdown is something that will benefit your family as a whole and especially your kids. Whether you do this by simply talking about it over family dinners or maybe making a creative project out of it, acknowledging that this has been a pretty epic and strange time is really important.

Why not create a collage of photos and drawings, recipes you’ve tried through lockdown?

As more businesses re-open, parents start leaving furlough behind and we are able to go back to activities we took for granted pre-pandemic, anxiety can sky rocket.

Doing something creative like making art or a short story to represent what’s happened through lockdown can signal the end of what that time has been, and furthermore, can be helpful in transitioning from one event, in this instance, lockdown, home education and missing out on normal activities over the past few months, to the new ‘new’ normal we are embarking on.

And what about the summer break that’s looming? Does that, too, fill you with anxiety?

The lack of structure and routine, though we’re familiar now with how to fill the great void, can certainly still seem daunting.

Take control of the situation and use some of the time over the next couple of weeks to loosely plan the time.

Getting at least one day out planned in advance…

Getting at least one day out planned in advance, and with pre-bookings all but essential for local attractions and activities, is not just great for a positive mindset to have something to look forward to, but also being proactive may be the difference between getting your date of choice, versus being left out altogether.

You could even pair your planning for a day out with a bit of meal planning, too. No one enjoys the inevitable, “Muuuuuum, what’s for tea?” gripes. So while, it may sound like overkill, if you plan a 3 week menu, you can repeat it just once and voila, all summer holiday meals can be checked off your to do list.

If you’re thinking about taking advantage of the relaxation on travel restrictions, you can start planning your family holiday or staycation. Now is definitely a time to get those plans finalised, and may come as a welcome return to some form of normality of what you’d expected your summer would look like.

Of course, there’s more than planning and preparation that will help you make the most of the last two weeks of term time.

Whether your children are physically in school, or if you’re still educating at home. The end of the school year is usually a time filled with celebrations!

From sports days to graduations, whatever age your kids are, find a way to celebrate their achievements from this year. I’m not saying you have to stage a full on graduation ceremony at home, but what about a family egg and spoon race? Or for younger children, a teddy bears picnic — indoors if it’s raining.

Expressing your pride that your children have shown resilience through lockdown is a fantastic way to show them that you value their effort and acknowledge their growth in spite of the obstacles. 

Ultimately, you have 14 days to get yourself and your family in a strong position to enjoy the summer holidays. But please don’t be overwhelmed by the thought of filling your 6 weeks off with loads of family enrichment activities, Pinterest worthy crafts and happy family photo ops. If you’re struggling to think of how you’ll fill your days, I have some resources at the ready.

  1. Consider booking onto my Positive Academy for week by week support, development and fun. For more information, click here.
  2. Sign up to my newsletter for on-going, fresh ideas. If you want to join the list, click here.
  3. Keep your eyes peeled for a FREE downloadable, designed to fill the gaps and banish the most dreaded words utter-able over school holidays — “I’m BORED.” Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news! Facebook, click here. Instagram click here.
  4. If you love the idea of celebrating your child and want to personalise a certificate of achievement for them, download from the link below where I’ve created a printable certificate to personalise in anyway you want.

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