Logging off and checking in during the holidays

With the constant demands of work and school, it's not always easy to clock off throughout the year. As the school holidays and festive season kicks off, it's the perfect time to log off and reconnect with your kids. Our Lead Psychologist Jon Marginis shares his top tips for staying connected with your family during the break.

As a busy year comes to an end, the holidays allow us to reflect on the year that was. For many of us, we have more time to spend with friends and family whilst taking a break from school and work. However, the time away from our usual routines can feel unnatural, with many of us not taking the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones.

Research shows that close interpersonal relationships with parents provide lifelong benefits for children. Amidst the daily hustle and bustle, parents are often busy with work or home duties, subconsciously becoming priorities. The summer break or workplace holiday shut-down allows families to take things a little slower.

These are a few simple steps you can take to remain connected with your loved ones and utilise the holiday period.

Setting time for the family to be screen-free

Parents report that keeping their kids off technology is one of the most significant issues they struggle with daily. Throughout the holidays, it's essential that parents model technology-free behaviour. An easy way to set guidelines is to establish times each day that suits the whole family to log off and be screen-free. During this period, parents should refrain from checking emails and taking unimportant calls and children shouldn't be gaming or scrolling on social media. Without the distraction of technology, you'll have valuable time to bond and reconnect with your family.

Planning family activities

With time up our sleeves, it's important to plan family activities during the holidays. Kids and parents become exhausted after school or work, so many families watch television together. However, activities like these, while spent together, lack the meaningful engagement and connection kids need. When we remove our day-to-day routine, the end of year break allows families to plan special activities together. Focused on connection rather than the activity itself, it can be as simple as going out for a meal or walking along the coast. These occasions allow families to appreciate each other's company whilst utilising a break from work and school.

Spending one-on-one time with your kids

Like family activities, planning one-to-one activities with your children during the holiday period is vital. These occasions should be focused on one child and set away from the rest of your family. You can simply add one-on-one activities to your holiday schedule by allocating time in alternate weeks or weekends to each of your kids. No matter the activity, the purpose of these sessions are simple – to get to know your child better. During the year, life can be busy. And parents tend to miss things that are going on in their children's lives by no fault of their own. Creating one-on-one time helps strengthen the connection between you and your child and allows them to talk to you without their siblings or other family members hearing. Your child should feel comfortable to open up about what is going on in their life. It's important that for parents, this time is often for listening and not telling your child how to handle a situation or what to do. You should only offer advice if your child asks for it. Research suggests that children and teenagers sometimes want to be listened to rather than have a situation "fixed".

To learn more about staying connected with your children over the break, please check out the links below:

Have a lovely holiday!

Jon Marginis
Lead Psychologist

Discover our wellbeing programmes and how we support our students to live their best lives.