The school holidays are upon us and with them comes the myriad of holiday clinics, trips to the movies, camps and other holiday activities. But do the school holidays need to be expensive and busy?
Kids’ activities and family excursions certainly have their place but the two or three weeks off school can also be a window to build foundational skills that will support children through the next school term and beyond.
Parents will often make additional time to be with their children in the holidays, by taking time off work where needed or reorganising their term time schedule.
This additional space in the day is an excellent opportunity to connect, appreciate each other and bring attention to the aspects of school life that are challenging for the child.
Children often finish the school term exhausted and anxious — even overwhelmed — as they’ve been holding on and waiting for their break for weeks by that point. We assume this is a break from the school routine but often what they are needing a break from is the pressures of school, the aspects of school life that they don’t feel equipped to respond to.
The school holidays can be an opportunity for children to not only recharge their batteries ready to go back into the melee but an opportunity to support them to identify the aspects of school that they find challenging and help them to develop a foundation of skills that will support them to respond to these triggers more effectively throughout the next school term.
There are a number of services that can support with this. At Fabic, families will sometimes choose to book in for additional sessions during the holidays or even programs of behavioural specialist services, speech pathology, occupational therapy or psychology to support the development of the skills that will support the child at school and beyond.
Intensive social skills groups, ready for school groups (offered at Fabic in January for incoming preps) and focused skills building workshops (such as the Workplace and Workforce group offered at Fabic for teenagers in the January holidays) can be another valuable investment as they are an opportunity to strengthen the social and peer interaction skills that children can have difficulty with in preparation for the new term.
The time that parents and children have together over the holidays can also be an opportunity to connect so they can get a sense of where each other is at and deepen their relationship.
This may involve spending time together at home or going on family excursions but the key is to make these times, however you choose to spend them, about enjoying being together and appreciating each other in a way that the busy school term often doesn’t allow for.