The school holidays are here and parents alike are faced with their children testing them with their boredom cries.
The school holidays offer the perfect time to strengthen your relationship and spend time with your kids, but finding activities and things to keep them occupied day in day out can be challenging.
The school holiday period is a time where children challenge our competence, energy and emotions as they lose the structure of school. Boredom is good for a child to develop ways to entertain themselves, however having loose plans for a day can provide them with structure and help the day pass. Parents may be tempted to let their children ‘run free’ over the holiday period, however, make sure that your kids receive a relaxing period, where they are not engrossed by technology and socialize with friends and family will be important.
Anna Cohen, Sydney’s leading Clinical Child Psychologist outlines key tips to help parents manage their child’s bored behaviour over the school holiday period.
Dr Anna Cohen Clinical Psychology
- Engage in child-centered time. Participate in simple activities of your child’s choosing. This will help them feel as though you are giving them your undivided attention and will set them up to amuse themselves from that point on. Simple activities such as playing a ball game or doing a puzzle will also mean your child doesn’t always expect to do elaborate events. The key will be to join in and show your child you are having fun with them, and will mean they demand less attention when you are not able to give it.
- Agree on activities you will do over the time. Ask your child what activities they would like to do over the school holiday period and compromise a few that you will be able to do. Spread these out, so your child has things to look forward to and to balance at home time with going out.
- Have structure. The holidays should be a relaxing period for your child but try not to lose all structure, as children love routine. Run through a loose program at the beginning of your day so your child understands they will need to occupy themselves at times and plan ideas to fill this time. Keeping bed routines will be important to ensure you are not dealing with a grumpy child the next day, so maintain the standard bath, story and bed routine.
- Get ideas ready. To avoid the boredom conflict, have some activity ideas in your head that they can do with others or by themselves. Giving your child some inspiration when they are stuck may help them find an activity to keep them busy. Having stimulating books, toys, games and activities that encourage play and intellectual stimulation will help give you a basket of ideas ready to go.
- Have a set period of screen time. Don’t let technology act as a babysitter over the school holidays. Avoid just giving kids a device giving children quantity restrictions such as number of episodes will work better for young children. This will give you time to do chores or work that you need to complete.
- School holidays are the perfect time to nurture and strengthen your relationship with your children but remember you do not have to entertain them every hour of the day. Planning is key when it comes to getting through the holiday period.
The Carousel would like to thank Child Clinical Psychologist, Dr Anna Cohen for her story. More advice is available at Kids & Co.