how to deal with summer stress

Summer Holiday Activities

Whether you’re dreading or relishing the thought of those long summer holidays with your children, they do present parents with some real challenges.  From keeping them occupied, to managing sibling conflict, to making sure their brains tick over so they return to school able to quickly engage academically.

Here are my top 3 tips to manage your summer stresses:

1. Set Summer Challenges and Ground Rules

Whether you are planning on going away during the summer, or not, it’s really important to set your children challenges to help boost their confidence as well as keeping their brain’s engaged. The challenges ought to be child-specific, so very much focused on the skills your child would benefit from practicing and acquiring.  Here are my favourites which I’ve tried and tested on my own children:

  • Feed the family for 1 day

Your child has to plan, shop, and cook every meal for the entire family for 1 day. This is great for decision making, planning, confidence, and Maths. Younger children can still do this, although you might just ask them to plan one meal with some help from you

  • Arrange a family outing

Another huge confidence booster as well as helping planning and decision making. Your child is given a budget and a date. They then need to research activities within budget and any other given parameters you give, such as geographical distance, to plan a family outing, which everyone will enjoy

  • Create a holiday scrapbook

Schools often ask children to document their holidays in some way and a scrapbook is a great way of mixing in a bit of craft with some writing; keeping their brains active. Allow your child to own the book and the story they chronicle in it, otherwise it will just seem like homework, and no-one wants to battle homework in the school holidays!

  • Learn a new skill, such as riding a bike, sewing, swimming, etc

The summer gives you a real chance to practice a skill which your child is either desperate to acquire, or would boost their confidence. Whether it’s learning to ride a bike, or order an ice-cream, brain-storm with your children lots of different skills, not only for them, but also for you, and then chart everyone’s progress. Always remember to celebrate everyone’s successes, however small.


how to deal with summer stress

2. Use CHARMS each and every day

Regular readers of my blog will know I’m a huge fan of Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning, which consists of a number of morning activities aimed at boosting productivity and wellbeing, represented by the acronym SAVERS. Mike and Lindsay McCarthy subsequently created CHARMS for families, which I have adapted and used in the summer. Use sticky notes to tick off each task as your child performs them:

C – Creativity – be creative. Whether it’s drawing, cooking, building Lego, or crafting

HHealthy – eat something healthy each day. This also helps encourage children to try new things

A – Active – schedule physical activity daily, whether it’s kicking a ball or trampolining

R – Reading – read something every day whether it’s a book, comic, newspaper, or magazine

M – Meditate – even if it’s just for 1 minute, daily meditation improves wellbeing and attention

S – Service – do something for someone else; so unpack the dishwasher, share your toy…..

3. Cheerful Treats and Grumbles chores

Having all the children home together can often create all manner of issues with discipline, sibling arguments, and back-chat! This is a simple reward-consequences activity I created one summer and my children loved it!! On a piece of paper write down each of your children’s names then agree the reward for that day. It should be time focused, rather than money focused where possible. For example, a movie, staying up later, a late-night feast etc. Every time your child does something which is cheerful, they get a mark against their name; they might say thank-you, share with someone, or be helpful. Every time your child grumbles about how boring the day is or acts unkindly, they get a grumble point. The idea is your child needs to finish the day with more cheerful points than grumble points to get the treat.  Otherwise, they get a chore, such as taking out the rubbish, cutting the grass, or washing the car.  


This article is sponsored by Dr Maryhan Baker, an experienced parenting coach and psychologist. You can read more of her articles here.