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Summer Holiday Survival Guide- 6 Weeks with the Kids to Keep Sane and Continue to Progress

July 26, 2022

In todays article I assigned client Abbi (who's also a teacher and mum) with putting together, from her perspective her Summer Holiday Survival Guide- 6 Weeks with the Kids to Keep Sane and Continue to Progress

After the most challenging 18-24 months of the majority of our lives; a lot of us have been on a countdown for the school holidays.
It is finally here –we now have six weeks of time to navigate through summer holidays abroad with little no restrictions -we have eager, excited children ready to be entertained.
In reality, after a couple of days in if you haven’t heard the words ‘I’m bored’ or ‘I’m hungry’ then you are doing well.
Whilst as lovely as it is having quality time with your children, it can be a stressful, expensive and chaotic time trying to juggle kids, work, social events –it can be hard to keep up your regular eating and exercise routine.
I am speaking as a single mum, a teacher and someone who suffers with anxiety. I strive on routine and structure; starting to work with Nikki has been life changing for me.
My life has always been putting my son and work first; I barely gave myself a second thought. She has guided me to be able to put myself first and ensure there is time in my day for me.
I now am learning to think, to be the best mum possible to my son, I need to be in the best place physically and mentally but more importantly, I am learning to think that I want to be the best version of me, for me.
I have been reflecting on how I can ensure that over the summer holidays, I don’t lose my focus and by September I look back and have amazing memories and have continued successfully on this journey.

Planning ahead

As a family, spend some time creating a mind map/lists of things you would like to do over the holidays.

Put these onto post it notes and create a six week calendar. Plan in the bigger, more expensive events.

Things to do at home and free or smaller activities can always been placed on the calendar each week or day.

Extra ideas:-Colour code the type of activity-Add chores onto the calendar-Teach children resilience, responsibility and consequences where they can earn being able to choose the activity to put on the calendar for the day.

Add meals onto the calendar

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Hitting your physical targets

Sit down for 10 minutes at the start of each week and plan in your daily exercise time.

Stick to it and be consistent.

Get your children involved in your targets.

See if they can come up with challenges for you all to complete to help you achieve them.

Keeping fit challengesScreenshot 2022 07 26 at 12.35.10

-Creating indoor obstacle course

-Holding a family sports day

-Who can do the most steps in a day?

Go Geocaching

Geocaching is a very fun, exciting and adventurous activity for all the family

. Download the geocaching app and find hidden treasure trails near you. There are lots of places to explore all over the UK.

Online activities

Joe Wicks, Go Noodle, Just Dance, Cosmic Kids Yoga –all of these are free online resources which are fun and promote fitness.

You can easily build one of these into part of your day.

Whilst they are aimed at children, there is nothing stopping you joining in as well.

6 weeks to Hit your nutritional targets

There are two things which are going to ensure this happens –planning and sticking to the plan.

Sit down as a family and come up with meals for the week.

Try and eat at the same time as the children, this will give you quality time and also stop you being tempted to pick at their left overs because you are hungry and haven’t prepared your own food yet.

With advanced meal preparation, your life can be made that little bit easier, especially during the school holiday chaos.

Try to be mindful of your snacking habits. If you find yourself munching just because there’s food around —and not because you’re hungry —think about having snacks in the house available which won’t ruin your hard work.

Have themed meals planned in. Example themes are: countries from around the world, giving the children the chance to plan, prep and cook new food and favourite restaurants or takeaways such as TGI Fridays or Pizza. Children can be involved by creating menus, posters or props etcScreenshot 2022 07 26 at 12.39.33Screenshot 2022 07 26 at 12.43.50 Screenshot 2022 07 26 at 12.44.01 Screenshot 2022 07 26 at 12.44.13

Have children in the kitchen helping with cooking at least once a week has lots of benefits. From an educational point of view –it includes maths skills (weighing, counting, timings); teaches responsibility, nutritional information and a really important life skill.

It also helps them understand more where food comes from, it will keep them actively occupied, and also help them to be a part of a healthy eating regime.

Where possible batch cook and freeze for future meals where you need sometime quick. It will mean you are sticking to plan.

Days out (all Summer worth)

The expectation of ‘big days out’ can be overwhelming for parents and become a stressful experience.

It is better to have a few well-planned out days out where you can plan and save funds ahead of time rather than feeling like the entire holiday needs to be full of expensive trips out.

Picnics are easy to stay on track as you plan and prep everything in advance. Using cool boxes means that where ever you are going for your day out,you do not need to worry about your nutritional targets.

Eating out at places you visit also tend to be expensive and there isn’t always many healthy options. Children can be involved in the process of shopping for and prepping the picnic food. There are plenty of free or cheap options for days out. Most of these will enable you to hit your step target for the day.

My go to place for finding places to go and visit is https://miltonkeyneskids.com/I can’t rate this site enough, it covers all areas within an hour of Milton Keynes near where I live. Your own area will have a similar site if you search online.Definitely worth having a look through.

Two more good websites which give you lots of vouchers, discounts and ideas for days out across the UK are :

https://www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk/

https://www.kidspass.co.uk/(They are £1 to join as a 30 day trial).

Finally, if you are on Facebook there is a good private group called ‘Mum to Mum Northamptonshire’ which is worth joining to get ideas.

Things to do at home

There is nothing wrong with spending the day at home.

PJ days with a home cinema and games is a fantastic day.

Having time each day for all members of the family to have some downtime to relax and choose what they want to do is important.

Whether this is watching something, reading a book, colouring or having a bath –it is important it happens.

It allows the brain and body to recharge, school holidays tend to be an exhausting time.

Boredom isn’t bad. It gives children a chance to be creative, to explore, and to improve using their initiative, imagination and problem solving skills.

They’re also able to choose activities that match their mood. If your child's feeling energetic, they’ll be physically active; if they’re tired, they may find a restful thing to do.

Boredom also promotes resilience, as they learn to get through something that, to a child, can feel tough or stressful.

You sometimes have to think outside of the box with finding things to do at home. There are lots of websites you can look at to get ideas. Google is your friend!

Pressures of having various roles (survival time)

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Think about all of the roles you current hold within all the different parts of your life, for example: a mother, a partner, a teacher.

Each one of these is like a ball which we are constantly juggling to keep them up.

When we are in our usual routine it can be hard to keep all the balls in the air so when we then have to adapt to six weeks off schedule it can cause even more stress and anxiety for all.

Particularly  in the summer children can be dealing with anxiety around changing of routines, the changes at school and wondering what September will bring.

But there are ways to combat these stresses and worries.

For children, make sure you maintain healthy routines.

Keep them on a reasonable bedtime schedule and eating healthy foods.

If they are having worries, talk about those and come up with an action plan. While it’s tempting to stay out later in the school holidays —and the odd late night for a special occasion is unlikely to cause harm —try to stick to their normal bedtime routine and encourage your child to get enough sleep for their age:

Ages 0to 2: 12 to 14 hours

Ages 3 to 5: 10 to 13 hours

Ages 6 to 13: 9 to 11 hours

Ages 14 to 17: 8 to 10 hours

For adults, try not to overload yourself with pressures at home (and at work).

Schedule in some quiet times, and some time for yourself.

Stressed individuals commonly have high levels of cortisol, a hormone that’s released in response to stress.

Chronically high cortisol levels may causeweight gain.

Additionally, a stressful lifestyle may cause more cravings for junk food. For these reasons, it’s important to keep stress levels under control in general —but especially during the holidays, when you might be busy and surrounded by unhealthy foods.

It is important to schedule in some relaxing time for yourself as taking care of your own wellbeing and mindset.

Being able to have good mental health and a positive mindset is a very valuable tool to stay ahead on your health journey. The majority of this article has been about planning, planning, planning.

It is important to stay flexible however for when things pop up, (which they will –often!) This way you will never be caught off guard which may see you ditching yourhealthy lifestyleentirely. Be kind to yourself, go make some memories and have fun!

Abbi!

I hope Abbis experience and knowledge has helped you get some valuable ideas to survive the summer holidays, keep sane and continue to progress!

Love and Light

Nikki x

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