It's not just the kids who are tired at the end of a school term! All the dropping off and picking up, the logistics, the extracurricular sport/dance/scouts/tutoring running around is tiring for parents and caregivers too. It can be tempting to put socialising on hold over the holidays. However, connecting socially is really important for young people, particularly adolescents, and two or three weeks is a long time in their lives!
Ideally, the family Uber drivers should get a break as well as the kids having a couple of catch ups. How about:
sharing driving duties with other parents
enrolling friends in a day of holiday programme together
taking it in turns with other parents to have the kids while you take time for self care
a couple of families camping or holidaying at the same place (does require some forward planning, but there's always next holidays)
older kids cooking a favourite meal together as part of their catch up which, as a bonus, frees up some time for the adults
walking to the local park on a clear day so the kids can play and the grown ups can have their own catch up
including your child's friend in something the whole family enjoys (board games, indoor swimming pool, movies, hiking etc.)
For young people who struggle with friendships, holidays can be a challenge but they can also be great time to consolidate one or two connections by having time outside of school together. Or it can be a chance to make new connections through sport or interest-based programmes (acting classes, conservation outings, coding club, sports clinic, cooking school geocaching, etc. etc.). Social media groups based on your local area or areas of interest are a great source of info on what is available and so too is your local council.
Lastly, it's important to consider your young person’s levels of extroversion or introversion, especially if it’s different to yours. In general, people who are further down the introverted end of the spectrum find socialising more draining whereas people further along the extroverted end of the spectrum find socialising gives them energy. Introverted kids of extroverted parents, and extroverted kids of introverted parents: we feel you 😉
Have a conversation about what feels like the right amount of social time. Maybe they only need one, quick catch up? Maybe they need LOTS! You'll figure it out together so the final equation works for everyone. And remember, it's okay if your family's equation looks different to another family's.
Wishing our school families a great break with just the right amount of friend catch ups 👯♀️
Photo by Tegan Mierle