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Have you read lots of messages, listened lots of radio talk shows and heard many parents saying, “THANK GOD the school holidays are over”?Have you noticed how much we hear this and how little we hear, ‘Holidays were GREAT – it was beautiful having time with my kids and doing stuff together”? I wonder what it would be like to be able to say this and mean it? Here’s a School Holidays ‘Thriving’ Guide (not just ‘Surviving’):

1) Acknowledge Yourself – How often do you acknowledge for yourself what you do as a parent? How often do you stop to think about what you enjoyed about the kids today? Keeping a focus on what you DO and enjoy, helps you to take away the focus from what you don’t do and what you don’t enjoy– it’s a quick route to internal happiness! What would you like to acknowledge about yourself?  Here are a few things you

can do to acknowledge yourself and what you enjoyed with the kids during the school holidays: Share with your partner/friend each day, something you enjoyed about the kids today. Keep a daily acknowledgement journal. Get online weekly and share with Raising Happy Humans Facebook group your highlight for the week. THINK: “I ROCK..!”

2) Acceptance – Acceptance is: “I may not necessarily like it, I may not want it but it is what it is.” Acceptance is a key resource in allowing you to manage escalation of your emotions.  For example, if you feel frustration because the house is messier during the holidays, this frustration may turn into anger and you end up raising your voice at the kids, then you may feel disappointment towards yourself because you raised your voice (all of this can happen very quickly and often at an unconscious level). Bringing acceptance to the event (house is messier) and the emotion (frustration) allows you to master your emotions and choose how to respond in any given situation.  What can you accept about the school holidays? Can you accept things like: everyone needs a break from intense routines; ongoing sibling banter; less time for yourself as the kids want time with their main role model (you); kids have needs and demands; kids are going to be with you for ‘x’ number of days/weeks; and the house may be messier than term-time.  Can you accept these things and so much more? THINK: Water off a ducks back.

3) Manage expectations –Managing expectations helps reduce “flying off the handle” when things don’t go as you planned. Would you like to be calmer in your reactions? How can you manage your own expectations? Here’s some things that may help: Co-operate with the kids as much as you can when they ask you to do stuff and they will co-operate with you. Expect there to be lots of wonderful, exciting moments during the day and lots of challenging moments too. There are going to be times in the day when they are energetic and you are tired and vice versa.  Adapt your daily schedule to incorporate their needs and yours. Expect to get smaller chunks of time to work, if you are working from home.  THINK: What’s the real GOAL here?

4) Flexibility – How much flexibility do you have in your mind between following routines and going with the flow? What would it be like if you chose to enjoy routines in school term time AND enjoy the spontaneity that school holidays allow for you and all the family? Choosing to have this flexibility may allow you to enjoy the school holidays more. THINK: Olympic Gymnast.

5) Solid Foundation – Which parent doesn’t want a solid foundation for their child? Have you ever considered that the way you interact with your kids is how they will accept interactions with others in the future? Spending time with them, being present to them and valuing your time with them, will help them to develop the sense that they are worthy of time and connection simply because they are born. This creates a solid foundation for unconditional love and self esteem. Is this the greatest reason in the world to cherish your time with your kids next holidays or what?? THINK: Quality not Quantity.

6) Foster independence – How much do you allow your kids to help themselves? Kids love independence and it helps free up your mind of things that need to be done.  This leaves you with more time for fun with them. A couple of things that you may like to do are: make lots of yummy snacks and drinks accessible so they can help themselves when they feel like it. Ask your kids to clear their dishes and clean the table after meal times – they may even make less mess as result!  Anything that’s safe that helps them to help themselves is worth a try. THINK: Little Big people.

7) Opportunity – How often do you get the opportunity to teach your kids stuff that you love and stuff they may not learn at school? These may be: life skills, being silly, pillow fights, tickling competitions, visiting playgrounds, going for walks, going to the beach, cooking, how to RELAX. What are the things that you love to do that you would like to share with your kids? THINK:  Hang loose!

8) NOW – How often do you say to yourself, “I am grateful for each moment I have with my kids?” Saying this allows you to focus your mind in the NOW and be present with your kids. If you are thinking, “They are going to grow up so quick -I need to spend more time with them”  – this focuses your mind in the future and you may possibly be missing the NOW. This is a very subtle distinction and a powerful one. THINK: The Power of NOW.

Life with kids is busy – hopefully this guide will help you to be OK with that and enjoy your time with the kids much more the next school holidays..

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” Henry Ford

Can you choose to thrive the next school holidays?  Will you choose to thrive the next school holidays?