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The school summer holiday is upon us and it should be a time for relaxation, recovery and re-cooperating energy. For those parents across the country who are now feeling a burden of responsibility and can sense their purses emptying at the prospect of weeks as a child entertainer, help is at hand with survival tips from parent coach and author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies", Sue Atkins.

“If a parent thinks that the long school holiday is a trial to be endured then it will indeed feel like an ordeal. But, if just a little bit of time is spared to make a small change in perspective the time spent together will be far more enjoyable. Spending time with the children shouldn’t be hard work. Keep the fun simple – play cricket in the garden, make ice lollies - and from as little as half an hour a day together, relationships will flourish,” says Sue Atkins of Positive Parents Confident Kids.

Here are some practical tips to keep you positive, upbeat and raring to go!

1. Plan - see what activities and clubs are on offer at school or the local sports. If you need to work then ask around your local group of friends to see if you can do a day swap. Alternatively, ask grandparents, other family members, trusted-students who are looking for a holiday job if they will look after your children while you are at work. If this is too stressful or complicated then ask if you can work from home or change your hours just for the summer holidays. Make a chart or fill a calendar with fun days and quiet days so your kids get to know the plan for the week and will stop whining: “What are we doing today?”

2. Be creative - think of fun activities that are cheap and easy to do at home. Bake a cake, teach your 15 year old to cook spaghetti bolognaise so they will never go hungry, have picnic under a tree in your garden, ride a bike together, walk the dog, look for fairies under stones (see the Notes to Editors for more game ideas)

3. Set a personal goal - perhaps your child would like to swim a width, run in a local charity fun run, help do the shopping, get the paper for an elderly neighbour, make a collage out of their holiday snaps, or work at the local hospital radio for experience? Let your child‘s imagination daydream for a few moments and see what they come up with – it will keep them motivated and busy. Perhaps you could do the same!

4. Delegate - get the kids involved in jobs around the house as it teaches them responsibility. Get your 15 year old to cut the grass, your 8 year old to lay the table, or your toddler to put away their own toys.

5. Be playful and lighten up - enjoy this special time with your kids. Bounce on the trampoline or the bouncy castle together, paint a rainbow or watch “Shrek” again and become more childlike in your approach to life. It will put a spring your step and you’ll laugh and giggle more which is really good for you!

6. Get outside more - read in the sunshine, let the kids play with leaves and mud and water, paint pictures with paintbrushes and water so the pictures dry up quickly with no mess, get a sandpit, let them water the plants with watering cans, make perfume from rose petals, grow sunflowers from seed, get them practising their golf by putting into a hoop or just have friends over to make up games with.

7. Chill out - be more flexible in their routines and their getting up or going to bed times, be watchful but more flexible in TV time or computer time. Have the odd treat to eat.

The summer holidays are a time for replenishing, breaking the rules and having more fun. Chill out, relax, and enjoy – it is possible!

ENDS

Contact details:

Lindsey Collumbell, Bojangle Communications on T: 01372 274975 / M: 0771 7744719 / E: lindsey@bojangle.co.uk
Sue Atkins, Positive Parents Confident Kids on T: 01342 833355 / M: 07740 622769 / E: sue@positive-parents.com

Notes to Editors:

1. Sue Atkins is a parenting coach and her company is Positive Parents Confident Kids (www.positive-parents.com). Sue is a former Deputy Head with 22 years teaching experience and is an NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer. Positive Parents works with parents to improve or hone their parenting skills, via one-to-one coaching, workshops and seminars. Sue’s favourite phrase is "because kids don't come with a handbook".
2. For more about Sue’s work and to receive her free monthly newsletter of practical tips and helpful advice for bringing up happy, confident, well-balanced children go to her website: www.positive-parents.com.

Creative Ideas

1. Be Creative - Digging for Treasure

Your kids can pan for silver and gold right in their own back garden with this summertime sandbox activity.
What you need: 20 or so small rocks, 1 teaspoon each of silver and gold acrylic paint, waxed paper

Time needed: Under 1 Hour

- To set it up, first place 20 or so small rocks and 1 teaspoon of silver acrylic paint in a sealable container. Shake the container to coat the rocks, and then set them on waxed paper to dry.

- Next, rinse out the container, add another batch of rocks plus 1 teaspoon of gold acrylic paint, and repeat the process.

- After the rocks have dried completely, bury them in your sandbox and send kids out with toy shovels and sifters to find the treasure.

2. Be Creative - Four Square Game (for 9-12 year olds)

What you need: pavement or drive, chalk, ball, at least 4 children

- Draw a 6-to-10 foot square on a paved surface, such as a driveway.

- Divide the square into four smaller squares, number them 1 to 4, and have each child stand in a block.

- The player in square 4 serves the ball by bouncing it in his square and tapping the ball into another square.

- The player in that space must tap the ball (after one bounce) into another kid's area, and so on, until someone misses the ball, lets the ball bounce twice, or sends it out of the grid.

- The player who misses the ball steps out and the remaining players rotate up through the numbered squares. If you are playing with more than four players, a new player enters the game at square 1 (The player who is out waits in line to re-enter the game once square 1 is open again)

- Whoever is now in square 4 serves the ball to resume play.

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