Are you also worried about how to thrive through unplanned holidays with your children? Then you are not alone.
Holidays are usually fun and smooth for kids and parents simply because it is usually planned for and you have put things in place even before it starts, so you have little or no stress and worry.
The unplanned holiday is not a bed of roses and can happen at any time mostly due to unforeseen circumstances that could result in stressful activities because you spend more time trying to find your way around the situation especially when it comes to managing kids.
COVID-19 pandemic has placed the entire world on an indefinite and compulsory holiday with restricted movements, and lockdown of institutions, Churches, Mosques, Markets, Malls, Private and Public organizations.
Literally, every mum is left to figure out how to make this holiday engaging, sane and organized for the family.
It is important to not spend too much time worrying about how to make this holiday work, rather spend more time actually making it work.
When it comes to engaging children in educative activities, you really have to take the bull by the horn. It could be an extreme sport sometimes, but with consistency and the right approach, you will get it right.
Children have the tendency to do more fun things like playing with themselves, or playing games, as against doing anything productive and creative outside normal school hours.
As a work from home Mum, nothing has entirely changed for me except the unplanned holiday that we all have, and I have to make adjustments in my plans to suit this season and help me thrive through this period.
Since this holiday is indefinite, and for the sake of other unplanned holidays that could happen, here are a few tips to help you thrive through unplanned holidays with children:
TIPS TO THRIVE THROUGH UNPLANNED HOLIDAYS WITH CHILDREN
- Put your kids on a schedule: It might be a bit difficult to get them on board with educative and creative activities, but it all starts with good planning. Create a realistic timeline that your children can embrace and work with smoothly. This schedule should include every activity they would be getting on every day – mealtime, playtime, nap time, games. This helps them to stay on course, and also helps you as a Mum track what they should be doing at a particular time. With consistency, your children will get accustomed to this pattern and everyone will literally be happy. This is the best time to teach them how to do several things. First, you can teach them how to read and also enjoy their reading time as a part of the schedule. Very recently on my YouTube channel, I shared a video on how to teach your children to read and love it. This video would be a great resource to you at this time:
Other learning resources you could use to engage the kids during this time and beyond includes Tynker, BrainPop, Discovery Education, Outschool, Creative Bug; and some YouTube channels – TheBrainScoop, Kids Learning Tube, and Soul Pancake.
- Secondly, you can teach them how to do house chores irrespective of how little it is. Depending on their age this is the best time to teach them basic chores. Just ensure it is age-appropriate.
- Create a flexible schedule: As a Mum, you should not forget to prioritize your rest as well. Apart from creating a schedule that works for your kids, create a very flexible schedule for yourself and the whole family as well. More than the necessity of creating a schedule, it is important to create a flexible and realistic schedule that works for the family. Unplanned holidays are typically new to the family, and members of your family have to get used to it slowly. Don’t create an overwhelming plan and everyone get stuck later. Do your best to keep things as close to normal as possible. For example, if during school days, your child wakes by 6 am, don’t tell them to wake by 5:30 because of your new schedule. Let them slowly adapt to it. More importantly, ensure you create time to take care of yourself even as you do all of these.
- Let your partner be on the same page: Since there’s an obvious change in the family with routines and schedules, it is important to bring your partner on the same page with you so they will understand the new schedule or pattern, and they can equally support you at that time. It would not be easy to carry the burden of managing everyone during the unplanned holiday all by yourself. It could be really overwhelming; hence, an extra hand would be helpful at this time.
- Spend quality bonding time: During the unplanned holiday, ensure that you spend time bonding with the children and other members of the family. Beyond the activities on the schedule or planner, ensure that you spend time taking care of yourself, and doing things that will make you feel relaxed as well. Irrespective of how unplanned a holiday or break can be, the climax should be the bonding and time well spent with the family.
- Use daily plans: The importance of using a daily plan against planning for a week or a month cannot be over-emphasized. It is okay to do monthly or weekly plans, but it is saner and more realistic to use a daily plan. Treat each day as it comes, and include activities for the family as soon as you wake in the morning and you are ready for the day. You can decide to replace or scrap an activity for the children if you notice a change or something new comes up. Give enough room for change or mistakes.
I hope you find this post useful, if you did, kindly share it with someone else in your circle who may need it. Also if there’s anything you are currently doing differently to keep yourself and the family sane and safe this period, do share in the comment section, so that we all can learn.
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