Relate London North West is offering advice for parents ahead of the long school holidays. Calls to Relate often increase dramatically after the school holidays, as family tensions simmer during the long summer break.
Relate family counsellor Judy Karr said: “Most of us look forward to the summer holidays. But sometimes, it can end up feeling like a very long time to keep the kids entertained. Tempers can get frayed and families can end up counting down the days until September begins. But summer is actually a good time to reconnect with all the important relationships in your life – from your kids and your partner to your friends and wider family.”
Relate London North West’s six tips for six weeks of summer survival:
• Planning together. Whether you’re going on holiday or staying put, it’s important to plan together as a family. Make everyone feel involved in plans and keep a chart with everyone’s wishes on it.
• Make hay while the sun shines. Make the most of what’s special about summer. Go for family walks during those long warm evenings, or arrange a World Cup party. If not everyone’s keen to watch the game then compromise: time spent watching football could be matched by time doing something everyone can enjoy. Also, look out for free or cheap music events and summer schools arranged by local authorities.
• Turn down the heat. Arguments are often a part of family life, but take care to diffuse tensions before things get too heated. If your children are arguing, ask them to go into separate rooms and take five. You can do this too if you’re getting wound up.
• Switch off. If you have time off work, try to make sure it’s really time off. So long as your boss is understanding, try not to check emails or work phones and really focus on enjoying time with your family.
• Reconnect. It’s common for parents not to see their friends as much, especially when children are very young. But summer provides a chance for reconnecting as there are lots of activities, like picnics and barbeques where parents and children from different families can get together.
• Keep things sizzling. During the summer, older kids are often out doing their own thing, so this is a good opportunity for investing some time in your relationship with your partner.
Relate offers information, advice and counselling for all stages of your relationships.
You can contact Relate locally on 020 84278694 or 01923 241 803