School holidays offer opportunities for more family time and for the parents to improve positive communication and relationship with their children. Many parents, thinking about planning activities and fun for their children, may feel the approach of holidays is stressful. Some international studies show that about two thirds of children see quality time different from their parents.
Parents who have school children may find it useful to agree family meetings where the whole family gathers and talks about issues which have to be dealt with. A family problem which has to be solved with the participation of all members equally, should first be clearly defined. When it has been done, every family member proposes one or more solutions without commenting on others’ proposals. When the proposals have been put forward, good and bad sides of each are discussed and evaluated, before opting for the best solution. It is fundamental that everybody understands that one member’s problem is not his/her personal problem, but a family problem which is the reason why all family members should participate in dealing with it.
Spending quality time
Parents who have toddlers or pre-school children will find it difficult to include their child in the above mentioned meetings and discussions. To avoid the child’s feeling of being neglected and excluded, these parents are advised to spend quality time with their child.
This means that parents should allocate a period of the day dedicated to the child. During that time the child should be certain that one or both parents will be available to play, answer questions, hug, i.e. that the child will have undivided parents’ attention. If the child is provided with such attention, we can be sure that s/he will not be forced to seek attention with inappropriate behaviours ― unrest, whimpering, stamping their feet or shouting.
Quality of the child time is what matters, not the quantity. Mere parental physical presence does not suffice. During that time, parents do not watch soap operas, do not have long talks with somebody, to not make appointments. Quality time with the child is best at the same time of the day. If it is not possible, the change of time should be announced to the child and promises should be kept. Generally, it is not a good idea to give children a promise we are not sure we can keep. Betrayal undermines child’s self-confidence.
You do not have to be an omnipresent parent. Support should be provided when necessary and it is important that the child knows s/he can count on you.