The School Holidays are here!

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The school holidays can be a challenging time for our mental health, for both parents and carers, as well as for children and young people.

Children’s mental health can be affected by the school holidays in a number of ways. With the lack of routine and structure, it can be easy for some to feel lost, bored, or isolated. This can lead to increased anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.  Some children may miss the social interaction with their friends and teachers, or they may feel bored and restless. Others may find the extra freedom of the holidays to be overwhelming, and they may struggle to manage their emotions.

It’s important to be aware of the factors that can affect children’s mental health during the school holidays and to take steps to support them if you can. Here are some tips for supporting children’s mental health during the school holidays:

  • Stick to a routine as much as possible, even if it’s just a loose one. This will help to provide structure and stability and will help them to feel more grounded and less stressed.
  • Encourage social interaction. Make sure that children have some opportunities to socialize with their friends and family. This can help them to feel less lonely and isolated.
  • Try and limit screen time. Encourage children to spend time doing activities that don’t involve screens. This could include playing outdoors, reading, or spending time with family and friends.
  • Be aware of signs of distress. If you notice that your child is showing signs of distress, such as changes in mood, sleep, or appetite, talk to them about how they are feeling. You can also reach out to a mental health professional for help.

It’s also important to remember that every child is different, and what works for one child may not work for another. The most important thing is to be there for your child whenever you can and to offer them support.

The school holidays can be a particularly challenging time for parents’ and carers’ mental health due to a number of factors that can contribute to stress and anxiety during this time, including:

  • Increased childcare responsibilities. When children are not at school, parents and carers are often responsible for the childcare during the day. This can be a lot of work, especially if you’re also working or studying.
  • Lack of time to do something that you enjoy. With all the extra childcare responsibilities, it can often be difficult to find time for yourself. This can lead to feelings of exhaustion, stress, and anxiety.
  • Financial pressure. The school holidays can be a time when families are under financial pressure. This can add to stress and anxiety, having a negative impact on mental health.
  • Loneliness and isolation. If you don’t have a lot of other adults to talk to during the school holidays, you can feel lonely and isolated.

If you’re someone who is struggling during the school holidays, there are some things you can do to help you feel a little bit better:

  • Talk to your partner, family, or friends. Talking about how you’re feeling can help you to feel less alone and can give you some ideas on how to cope.
  • Take some time for yourself. This could mean going for a walk/run, reading a book, watching your favourite programme or taking a bath. Taking some time for yourself can help you to relax and de-stress.
  • Be patient and understanding. It’s normal to feel a bit down or out of sorts during the holidays, so be patient with yourself and others.
  • Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. These things can all help to improve your mood and mental wellbeing.
  • Seek professional help if you need it. If you’re struggling to cope on your own, there are a number of professionals who can help, such as counsellors, psychologists, and psychiatrists.  Specialist agencies include:

Samaritans  Helpline: 116 123 (open 24/7)]

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) Helpline: 0800 58 58 58 (open 5pm to midnight every day)

Shout Text: 85258 – Free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope.

Family Lives Helpline: 0808 800 2222 (Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm, weekends 10am to 3pm).  A national helpline providing emotional support, information and guidance on any aspect of parenting and family life.

And lastly, here are some ideas of things to do with children in the school holidays.  Hopefully, at least one of these things will cheer you up and keep the children amused!

  • Visit a museum or art gallery. Many museums and art galleries offer free or reduced-price admission for children during the school holidays.
  • Go to the park or beach. Spending time outdoors is a great way to get exercise and fresh air. The park or beach are also perfect places to have a picnic, play games, or build sandcastles.
  • Visit a farm or zoo. Children love seeing animals and many farms and zoos offer educational programmes and activities that can teach children about animals and their habitats.
  • Go swimming. If the weather is warm, going swimming is a great way to cool off and have fun. Many pools and water parks offer discounts for children during the school holidays.
  • Go on a hike or bike ride. Getting outdoors and enjoying nature is a great way to spend time with children.
  • Have a movie night. Curling up on the sofa with a good movie is a great way to relax and spend time together as a family. Make it even more fun by making popcorn.
  • Play board games or card games. These are a classic way to have fun with children. There are many different games to choose from, so you can find one that everyone will enjoy.
  • Have a baking day. Baking is a fun and creative activity that can be enjoyed by everyone. Let them help you choose a recipe and then get baking.
  • Have a talent show. This is a great way to let the kids show off their skills. They can sing, dance, play an instrument, or do anything else they’re good at.
  • These are just a few ideas of things to do with children in the school holidays. There are many other possibilities, so get creative and have fun!

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