All 10 Top Tips for Surviving the Summer Holidays

Summer holidays: visions of sand, sea, sunshine and happiness or is this just a family photo /social network (depending on your point of view!) image of the holiday season?

All of us look forward to a break and a holiday but our personal idyll rarely survives having to accommodate the idealised vision of others during a long holiday period!

Within families, spending more time together outside our usual routines away from home, it’s unsurprising that things can get a little bit… tense.

If you are young person, there is either never enough to do or too much having to do what you don’t really want to do… If you are a parent or carer then it can be a time of high stress, impatience and fatigue having to manage the moods of others as well as well as your own emotional wellbeing. We’ve all been there!
All of us can certainly agree that we’re under pressure to enjoy ourselves - after all… ‘It’s my holiday too…” .

So we’ve come up with ideas and top tips to minimise some of the stresses (and there are a few) that are a natural part of family life and don’t really have to turn into disagreements, hurt feelings or emotional (dis)stress.

Follow #SummerHolidaysSurvivalTips and #CranialCocktail

Surviving the summer holidays
Cyrenians’ Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolutions’ Ten Top Tips 2019

  1. Ideally start preparing as soon as you can. Easier said than done?

Try this!: Why not start Googling events, days out or open days in your area. Even if you only search for free activities in your neighbourhood you’ll be surprised at how much there is to do that’s cheap, cheerful and fun!

Follow your (or your family’s) interests on Twitter - Remember you’re all probably already doing this anyway - as free events are most often advertised via social media and web-based platforms.

  1. As a parent or carer get your young person(s) involved in finding out what’s on.

What are their friends going to be doing? Discuss who likes which events or activities and agree to filter out the stuff that’s traditional/expected but not really of interest.

Remember: you don’t have to agree to a plan or do everything, everyone suggests! Having the discussion is the most important thing so that everyone can express their ideas, emotions and concerns before you’re in the thick of the action and everyone is feel highly charged!

Try this!: Set up a WhatsApp Group for the family entitled: Summer Holiday Ideas (or Dreams or Plans, you get the idea) and send links and ideas to each other during the weeks leading up to the beginning of the holiday. It builds anticipation, helps all of us co-regulate excitement and emojis are a really great way of expressing your emotions without hurting someone else’s feelings!

  1. Talk about what you can afford and agree a budget. It’s easier than you think!

Try this!: To pick out the events you can attend within your budget make a game of voting as a family for how the money should be spent. Give every member of the family - however young - a vote and the opportunity to ‘pitch’ their idea. You may all be surprised at how many free events are on in your local area.

Bonus Tip!: As well as allowing for discussion and planning (and savings!) this ‘game’ helps to exercise the entire family’s ability to negotiate choice and responsibility and so builds resilience

  1. Talk about what the family could do together that would be fun. It isn’t necessary for every family member to enjoy every activity - but we can strike a balance between getting our own way and trying something new. If you have a combination of outdoor types and home-bodies in the family (don’t we all?) alternate between activities that get everyone exploring outside and those that can survive bad weather.

Remember: Even teenagers enjoy being kids again sometimes!

Try this!: Incentivise these activities by some form of shared reward at the end of the day.

  1. Be realistic when planning what you want to do during the holiday.

Remember: There will be times when people will feel bored or overexcited (#Dopamine #Adrenaline) so acknowledge this and suggest that everyone leave a bit of time in their day(s) for some downtime: spending time alone, having a nap or just listening to music.

  1. Agree expectations!

Talk about and agree some ground rules over this period so that everyone agrees on expectations before the holiday begins. For example, rather than telling people off for “always being on their [smart]phones” agree a certain time in the evening that’s a phone-free time and make sure all of you stick to it!

Remember: Lead by example! If you expect the kids to be offline by 8pm then ensure that you are too…!

  1. Talk to young people about their friends.

Getting to know your young person’s friends or even having them talk about the people in their social groups now will help to negotiate the time they (and even you) spend together during the holidays.

Bonus tip!: If young people are spending time with friends away from the family establish some safety protocols but reassure them that you want them to enjoy and have fun without getting in harm’s way.

  1. Turn the mundane into a game!

You be surprised how everyday activities can engage children and even adolescents. Get creative with things like cooking meals, baking, gardening, washing the car, and even DIY.

Try this: Turn your kitchen into a restaurant and take turns with the younger members of the family to create and serve up a meal; if you’re feeling brave why not score each other and make a game of it…?!

  1. Trust yourself to trust others.

Working with your children or giving them responsibility and trusting them to do everyday things develops their judgement, self-confidence and maturity. Being trusted to do things that adults do can be very enlightening - even for the most jaded adolescent - and the results may surprise even the most protective parents!

Try this: Noticing and reminding young people of what they can do now that they couldn’t during the last holiday - reach the biscuit tin, set the table, weeding or even putting their wellies away without being asked - will build their competence and confidence and inspire them to be how much more independent.

  1. The Golden Rule: Make some time to look after yourself!

Planning time to chill and relax each day will allow you to stay centred and calm even when everyone else is getting stressed.

Bonus tip!: Taking time for yourself allows you to instil positive healthy messages in young people through your presence as well as your words!

Remember: There’s no such thing as a perfect family holiday - that’s what makes them perfect!

Share your #TopTips on how to have a harmonious holiday – on Facebook and Twitter @SCCRCentre using the #CranialCocktail and #SummerHolidaysSurvivalTips

Contact us

0131 475 2493
Norton Park 57 Albion Road EH7 5QY Edinburgh