Summer vacation has started. Time for sun, sea, vacation… and summer stress?!
Summer vacation is the time of year most children and their parents look forward to for ten months.
Also the time of year that - let's be honest - most parents also look up to.
Because what now? Crèches close, the school gates close and those little monsters stay at your house for two months. Get rid of the daily structure and work, you still have to do that. The workload often increases because colleagues go on vacation, a project still has to be ready for the collective leave or you have to prepare your own leave and then 'make up' again afterwards.
The summer planning that you have been working on for six months is now in action. From camp to the babysitter on duty, from (wedding) party to BBQ: taxi mom / dad is working overtime.
How do you keep calm and make sure things don't get too heated this summer?
It sounds cliché but it's in the little things. You don't have to free up an hour a day to enjoy the holiday together.
Go through the tips below, take what suits your family and go into the summer!
• Sing along to the radio together as you drive from camp to babysitter.
• Choose a safe word with the whole family for when the summer stress takes over and/or there is a need for a break. When someone says the safeword, everyone takes a deep inhale and slow exhale (preferably with eyes closed if possible). If you have more time, choose a breathing exercise from the card set and do it together. Give each other a hug to complete the moment.
• Start the day with a sun salutation, end the day with a moon salutation or take a moment throughout the day to get moving together .
• Watch the sunset together, without talking.
• Take a moment for a little gratitude On vacation or before going to sleep after a busy summer day, choose a quiet moment for this. Whisper in each other's ear what you are grateful for. Create a thank you word web.
• Sit down opposite your partner, your child or the mirror for connection with each other or yourself. Look into each other's eyes and put your hand on each other's (or on your own heart). Bring your forehead together or against your reflection and close your eyes. Set a timer or feel for yourself when you want to stop.
• Breathing together . Sit back to back and feel how the others are breathing/breathing. Without talking, try to breathe in the same rhythm. Inhale together. Exhale together. Also discover the breathing exercises from our basic card set.
• Reread the blog about mindfulness with children and apply this more and more throughout the holidays.
• Plan (a day or half a day or an hour) to do nothing . Turn off the TV and radio, put away the phones and tablets. Don't plan a trip or organize a craft activity. Cuddle, sleep, invent a game, talk, look at the clouds, laugh, build a camp in the living room: nothing has to be done. Nothing! Blissful idleness, isn't that what a holiday is for?
• Let each family member take turns choosing an activity to do together, the whole family must participate!
• Take a silent walk . Go for a quiet walk in the garden, in the park, on the beach, through your house. Give your thinking brain a little assignment: choose 3 sounds, 3 smells, 3 tastes, 3 things you see, 3 things you feel. Remember these during the silent walk (possibly write them down or draw them on a piece of paper) and discuss them with each other after the walk.
• Enjoy the chaos ! Think about how everything feels more intense and different now that you are being pulled out of the fixed structure of the past school year. Do you detect a new summer holiday habit somewhere? Maybe you finally have time to have breakfast together, do you spend more time together in the car or do you go to sleep more easily?
• Release your inner child a little more this summer. Play. Get started with the sidewalk chalk. Blow bubbles. Lay down in the grass with your child. Buy those water balloons. Surrender to the moment and allow boredom, both for yourself and for your children
• Consciously choose a time to be alone . All alone or together with your partner. Drop off the little monsters with the grandparents, aunts/uncles/godparents, friends, clay workshop in the petting zoo, the animation team of the campsite, other parents with whom you alternate, a birthday party! Free up space and time WITHOUT children. Because you need, and you need, time to not 'age' for a while and to reconnect with yourself and with each other. That gives new energy and (literally) breathing space to be a better mom / dad / partner / caregiver.
• Take a nap together. Simple and so delicious!
Summer can be blissful, despite the changes in planning and the disappearance of the familiar structure. Bring out the holiday feeling every day, at home, at work and / or on vacation. Enjoy the extra time you get yourself and together.
Breathe and connect. Move and play. Fly into the summer holidays together.