Surviving The Summer Holidays As A Single Parent
By Demelza Desforges - MIN Ambassador, 18th July 2022.
Surviving The Summer Holidays As A Single Parent
As the children get excited about the summer holidays, the end of the school year can bring up feelings of dread for parents. Without the school routine, life at home can rapidly descend into chaos. This surrounding anxiety can be more intense for single mums. If you have fled domestic violence, you may still be enduring post-separation abuse. This has a huge impact on your family life and while it can feel like you are fighting a losing battle, have hope; you’ve got this!
Keep it simple:
Make your life as easy as possible while ensuring your kids are content. Don’t overcomplicate things and accept that sometimes there will be setbacks. Everybody makes mistakes. Teach your kids that that’s ok. Meet problems with humour, and don’t let challenges get you down. Whether you are parenting toddlers, teenagers or a mix of kids of all ages, it is important that you try to relax and have fun. When you are calm and happy it is more likely that your children will be too.
Have an outline for each day, even if it is just ‘stay in PJ’s today’. Stay flexible and go with the flow.
Nurture your children:
As a survivor of domestic abuse you may feel like the life you had dreamed for your children has been destroyed. Try and put that aside and focus on the things that you are able to do for them. Don’t underestimate yourself: as well as providing shelter, food and warmth for your child/ren, you are also showing them that you are strong. Every day they see you building a life for them. You are teaching them that a healthy life away from abuse is possible and this is important to secure a safe future for them.
Give your Time:
It is crucial to spend time with your children. ‘Get down with the kids’ Participate in their lives, play in their games and involve them in your own activities. Your little ones just want quality time with you. Share with them who you really are and get to know them as much as possible. They will remember the memories of nice moments spent with you over any expensive exotic holiday.
If you are struggling for food or essentials such as toilet paper, nappies, sanitary products etc. Don’t feel bad about yourself, this isn’t your fault. It is ok to ask for help. Friendly MIN staff can refer you to a local food bank. They will not judge you.
There are some fun things you can download to support this activity.
Visit Heeley farm or Graves park:
Go to see the animals. With soaring petrol costs you may prefer taking the bus. If money is tight, find out where your local parks are and take a picnic. Click here for a full list.
Check the weather:
Find out what the weather is likely to be like so you don’t get caught out. If you get stuck in the rain, make the best of it, run through the downpour and enjoy some warm showers. Prepare for the heatwave by keeping your curtains/blinds closed during the day. Make sure you are out of the sun when the sun is at its hottest and wear sun protection.
You don't have to be busy ALL of the time:
Don’t put yourself under loads of pressure to keep your kids busy all the time. It’s ok for children to have nothing to do sometimes. Getting bored can help them get creative and inventive with their time. When the children are misbehaving or angry maybe they need a nap, a snack or bit of support or a little chat.
If you are stuck for ideas of what activities to do outside in the community, here are some ideas if you need a bit of inspiration on how to fill the time:
Get everyone to help with the house jobs. Stay on top of things by having a quick communal clean up after dinner and get the children to help clean up after an activity. This teaches age appropriate responsibility and life skills. If the mood gets too heavy, put on your favourite music so you can dance and sing while doing the jobs to make it more enjoyable.
Make bedtimes fun:
Read a story to them and put on different voices for the different characters. If you have a tent you could pitch it up in your living room (or garden) if you don’t have a tent build a fort and let them sleep in it or put all the sofa cushions on the floor and have a family sleepover. Use recycled materials to make props.
Conversation cards are a fun and playful way for children to practise sharing their thoughts and feelings with others. The cards provide open-ended sentence starters that encourage conversation- supporting the child's social and emotional development.
Encourage your children to make a scrapbook or write a little diary. If they can’t write they could do a drawing a day instead. It doesn’t even have to be every day, just have fun with it. Take photos, create videos, one day the children will be all grown up and you will wonder where the time went. It will be fun for them to look back on these mementos.
To sum(mer) up:
Holidays when you have children can be really challenging but you are not alone to feel this way. Recognise your efforts and give yourself the credit you deserve. When things get tough, make light of the difficult situations and turn things into a game. Make the most of the holidays. It’s a great time to strengthen your bond with your child/ren and make positive memories for them. Document the times as much as possible, they won’t last forever. Before you know it you will be back doing school runs and prepping uniforms.
So keep remembering that you are doing your best in a challenging situation and if you need help, it is available, you just need to reach out.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS :) !!!!