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