M.E. & The Summer Holidays
I am receiving a lot of enquiries about managing the summer holidays, which was a subject M.E. Support Facebook Page Administrator Kelly Ledder wrote about last year. In this month’s blog post, Kelly shares more advice on how to cope during the school holiday, and she encourages parents to support each other by sharing their tips.
As much as I love my two children, aged seven and two, there is one time of the year that I REALLY dread: The Summer Holidays.
I do enjoy not having to get out of bed to do the school run but sadly, if you have children of this age you will probably know “I’m bored” and “What are we doing today?” are regular statements made almost every day.
For me, I work sixteen hours a week in the evenings so I find that before I even get to work I am exhausted, and the thought of having to fill the days for the next six weeks is pretty daunting.
I have found especially with my son, that if he knows what is happening, it tends to take away any problems that normally would arise when I just made a snap decision. So as the holidays approach, this is what this weekend is going to involve, with the lead up to the last week in school.
It may sound strange but planning the week means that you can effectively schedule time in to have quiet days when you want them. By involving my son, it will mean that I will feel less stressed out and won’t find myself in the situation where I have to go out when I may not necessarily feel up to it.
What we did last year, as described in my post Parenting with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, was to plan a week at a time so that we could do days out when we had an idea of the weather. This year is slightly different as it has been so hot; being out all day really drains me and I find myself needing to nap during the day, not easy with a two-year-old around my feet all day, so we will be planning half days rather than full days.
So, the first job goes to my son: he is in charge of writing down the things he would like to do. Then we discuss other things that we could do to make our list expand and have more options to cover for the duration of the holidays.
Some of the things we are going to look at this year will include:
- Is there a local playscheme/summer club that you think might interest the children?
- Where would they enjoy visiting? Are there any special events on at that time which may cause it to be even busier than usual?
- Would your child like to have friends over? Visit friends? Who?
- Would your child like to try something new, such as a swimming crash course or athletics?
- What about whilst we are at home? Would your child like to learn to ride a bike? Is there someone who could help with that?
Then work a week at a time, looking at when events take place, opening times etc., and work with the weather to get a schedule in place.
The great thing I find about this is that I am in control and my son is happy as he knows we have lots of things to do and see, but at the same time, he knows when they are going to happen, so I don’t get stressed out with the whingeing and complaining.
It’s also very hard to stick to the school time routine during the holidays, and last year I went wrong by letting him stay up later, which resulted in him being tired, so this year I plan on sticking to as much routine as possible.
We are lucky that we have annual zoo passes and annual entry at National Trust venues, so I will schedule half days some weeks and the odd full day when possible to manage my level of tiredness and to help with my pain relief.
The main thing to remember is that we don’t have to do something all the time. A short walk to the park, sitting on the bench whilst they play, is sometimes enough just to get out of the house and get some fresh air.
Hopefully, the weather will remain good and we will be able to make use of the garden with tents, paddling pools and chalk, amongst many other things.
Of course, don’t forget about arts and crafts at home, sticker books and movie days, so that you can enjoy resting whilst still entertaining the children.
If you have any ideas for making the school holidays go a little more smoothly, then I would love to hear them. The M.E. Support Facebook Page is a great place for parents to share their tips with each other.