1. Negotiate some rules but start by stating that the first three days will be totally rule free – let them stay in their pyjamas, game to their heart’s content, sleep till noon, eat rubbish – they have had an exhausting term and need to totally unwind in their own way.
2. Once the three days is up you need a bit of structure. Talk about the importance of daily balance i.e. exercise, being outside, screens, socialising, sleeping and so on.
3. Rather than dictating how long they can be on their screens each day come up with a plan for screen free times/places. The non-negotiable needs to be no screens in bedrooms overnight – even when they are switched to airplane mode studies have shown that our brains can’t relax. The holidays is the time to catch up on sleep not develop further deficit.
4. Encourage them to get involved with the planning of holidays and trips.
5. Teach them essential life skills such as planning a meal and cooking it; learning to clean a bathroom, manage their finances and make their own social arrangements. It is essential that we build their confidence in their competence and get them ready for independent living.
6. If appropriate encourage them to get some work experience – the work places of the future will require flexibility, social skills, creativity, initiative and critical thinking so anything that will help them develop these skills is good.
7. Create time out for them to be bored.
8. Encourage them to take on a new challenge to broaden their horizons – join a drama group, teach themselves a musical instrument (Youtube has lessons in most things), learn to code with Raspberry Pi Projects or learn a new language (Duo lingo is a great app).
While all of these points are important to consider, the most important is that you have a great summer!
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