The holidays are now in full swing and we asked resident expert Anna Williamson to come up with some helpful advice on how to have fun as a family. The main theme seems to be forward planning and I’m all for a bit of that!

It’s that time of year… those hazy long summer holidays have come around once again, and as much as we relish the chance for some decent (ish!) weather, BBQ’s and lounging in the garden, it’s also the time when the kids break up from school, for which, for some parents, can seem like forever and put a pressure on the day to day family dynamic!

It’s a tough one, huh…? on one hand it’s lovely that the brood are home and able to relax from working their socks off during the school term, but on the other, having the little ones hanging around permanently can lead to frustration and conflict within the family – after all, it’s your house and your ‘me’ time can often feel compromised during the long holidays when there’s the relentless pressure to be the entertainer, chef, cash point, cleaner, general supplier of everything etc…

Help is at hand. With ‘family relationships’ one of the main issues children report as a concern during the school holidays, it’s important for parents to be mindful of communication, time management and boundaries.

Whether you have little toddlers, or strapping teenagers, it’s important that you plan the approaching holidays so that it’s not a shock for both you, and the kids. Keeping yourself healthy, stress free and well is key, you’ll be a better parent for ensuring your needs are met as well as your children’s.

Have a think about how you can make the holidays work to cater for everyone’s needs and where there is room for movement, but also where there is not. If you work, that is a priority of course, however, have a think about what impact that will have on the family and what they will be doing and who they’ll be seeing while you’re earning the pennies. Compromise and planning is key for a summer which will work like clockwork, so include your children in the decisions and plans, ask them what they would like to do and work out separate times to spend doing family activities.

Create boundaries, whether you insist that the kitchen is to be clean after every use, or the TV isn’t on from morning til night – work out with your kids what you’d like, and also what they think fair too. Compromise and empowering your brood to make their own informed decisions really can help in them taking responsibility for themselves and thus creating a pleasant, more harmonious homelife.

And finally, have fun. Holidays are just that…a chance for ‘time out’. Enjoy some time just being a family, chatting and having fun together. It doesn’t require money or expensive trips…just you and your family, enjoying some quality time together is more precious than anything.

By Anna Williamson 

About The Author

Counsellor, NLP Practitioner

Anna is a counsellor, NLP practitioner, member of the national council of psychotherapists (NCP) and performance coach and she is qualified in this field at the highest level - 5. Anna currently uses these skills as a regular expert on ITV show This Morning reaching out to families and children covering issues surrounding family relationships, problems children face growing up and ways to keep a healthy mind, body and soul. Anna began her television career in children's TV, but has since gone on to host travel guides, competition features and the latest celebrity gossip on ITVs GMTV, Daybreak and The Lorraine show. Recently she joined the new ITV O'Brien show and is also a regular agony aunt on Big brothers Bit on the Side looking at relationships in the house, analysing body language, tone of voice and of course who will find love in the house. With regards to print Anna has written columns as an agony aunt for Top Sante (reaching the mums) and Girl Talk (reaching the little ones) and Digital Spy (reaching the celebrity enthused reader). Anna is as an official celebrity ambassador for the mental health charity, Mind. She now talks openly about her own battle with severe anxiety and panic attacks and has hosted several events and debates surrounding this topic. Anna is also a Child Line counsellor and celebrity ambassador for the Princes Trust.

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