Parent Wellbeing Blog ‘The Long Summer Holiday edition’

I always feel there is a unique piquancy to these days as the long summer holiday approaches. There is a heady joy at losing the structure of the school day, the school run, the homework chasing, the music practice reminding, the sports kit washing – again. But also a slight tension as to what life looks and feels like without that structure. I wish moments of boredom on you and your children, times when they need to look around and find some way to entertain themselves; device free entertainment. A time to practise good decision making.


We held a workshop recently about ways to navigate the dangers of social media. I was impressed by some of the systems you have to help your children make robust decisions about device use. Settings like ‘DownTime’ provide a formal restriction. But the strongest message was about communication. Conversations about the whole family’s use of devices. I was inspired by the ways that families are facilitating opportunities for their children to raise concerns about their own or others’ use. Letting a battleground develop about devices appears to be becoming an experience of the past. We all know that the youngsters will be ahead of the game, so trying to beat them is not time well spent. Instead, keeping the communication channels open will bring far more useful results. 


Talking will also help you define ‘privacy’ – a challenging area. When is it right to respect your child’s request for privacy? When is a question a gentle enquiry and not the start of a bitter argument? The agreement was that however painful it may feel, it was important to establish the fact that checking in was an integral and essential part of a parent looking out for their child. There is much about technology which is incredibly exciting and enhancing, but this same freedom can leave people vulnerable. It is more difficult to establish this after smartphones have become part of life. And when is the right time for that? There is a movement In Australia to leave that purchase until Year 8. However, looking together at websites like Common Sense Media and National Online Safety can start that conversation. Better late than never. Mr Gough has gathered articles that have been in the weekly letter to help start that conversation. I hope these help. He also recommends reading this article from the BBC on ‘What You Should Do When Your Child Misbehaves’ It explains how reasoning with children works better than “punishment”. 


There will be quiet times during this holiday when you hear the cry / whine ‘I’m bored’. From this unpleasant moment your children will learn resilience and some gritty decision making. I often quote my grandmother, who used to say ‘Only boring people stay bored’. I found it particularly irritating at the time – not least because she was so right. That moment is when you need to find something else to do, something purposeful and preferably device free. We all know how difficult it can be to rouse yourself when you are feeling that ennui, but we also know how much fun ensues once you have chosen an activity, rather than lying around feeling disgruntled. To help you help your children, we have shared the Prep Library Newsletterthe Long Summer edition. While I am sure you have made plans for a lovely holiday for your children, there will be quieter times and this newsletter, created by the children, has some great ideas of what to do during those lulls. The ideas included are not just relevant to Prep children, they will keep us all challenged and busy, adults and children alike.


Developing character strengths and decision making skills is not a vicarious experience. You may be able to prepare yourself for it, but it needs a bit of worry and teeth gritting and involvement. Mine inevitably includes list writing.  So I do wish you some moments of boredom and the chance to find something new to do. Some you will never do again, but some may become a new favourite. Memories will be made, frustrations and laughter shared and a sense of pride or satisfaction achieved. This could be a life changing summer for you and your family. Enjoy it, and the company of friends and family, something I don’t think any of us will underestimate again. Don’t let life happen to you, make a choice about how to spend time. And, of course, I end with a quote:


“If you want to be happy, be” Leo Tolstoy


Mrs Eaton-Jones | Head of Preparatory School

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