Winter school holidays is the perfect chance to take a breath after months of turmoil due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here is how one family is coping.
Winter school holidays is the perfect chance to take a breath after months of turmoil due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here is how one family is coping.

Why you should get the kids to recharge over winter

The turmoil of the past few months brought change and challenges for kids - now the winter school holidays are a perfect chance to reset and recharge.

In normal circumstances, Angela Saines would likely have an action-packed schedule of holiday activities planned for Oscar, 12, and Mila, 9.

She and husband Paul would likely be gearing up to juggle their work with play dates, sporting clinics, family getaways and more. But even as many of these activities become possible again, the family are looking forward to the school break as a chance to stop and catch their breath.

Angela and Paul Saines would likely have an action-packed schedule of holiday activities planned for Oscar, 12, and Mila, 9. Picture: Nicki Connolly
Angela and Paul Saines would likely have an action-packed schedule of holiday activities planned for Oscar, 12, and Mila, 9. Picture: Nicki Connolly

"The kids are emotionally and mentally tired. They have absorbed so much of what's happening around them," Ms Saines said.

"Not having to worry about their school work will be a good break. We're looking forward to keeping the slower pace and not having to fill our time doing 'stuff'."

Like many families, the Saines had to adapt to new working and home learning schedules, before readjusting their kids back into the school routine.

"The kids have had to adapt enormously with their new world," Ms Saines said.

ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTIONS

Clinical psychologist Anissa Mouti said on top of changes to daily routines and the challenges of home learning, there have been other new norms for kids to process.

"They've also had to have greater awareness around thorough handwashing routines, social distancing around peers, changes in sports and school activities such as assembly," she said.

"Some kids are struggling with the fact that life isn't back to normal and the uncertainty that we are still in limbo - there is a possibility of further changes, depending on virus activity."

BEHAVIOURAL RED FLAGS

Parents may notice behavioural changes if their child is struggling to adapt.

"Some of the signs parents should keep an eye out for include difficulties sleeping, increased clinginess, needing more attention than usual and complaints about phantom symptoms such as tummy ache," Bev Aisbett, author of Worry-Proofing Your Anxious Child, told The House Of Wellness winter magazine out tomorrow, said.

TIME TO REGROUP

Ms Mouti said the school holidays were an opportunity to slow down - but that did not necessarily mean doing nothing at all.

Paul and Angela Saines with Oscar, 12, and Mila, 9, and dog Maggie. Picture: Nicki Connolly
Paul and Angela Saines with Oscar, 12, and Mila, 9, and dog Maggie. Picture: Nicki Connolly

"Get back to routine, but have flexibility. Be realistic with what you expect from your kids and what you can do while juggling life," she said.

"Let the kids help plan what they want to do. It might be just catch up with friends they've missed, or there may be online social events for kids."

PREP FOR TERM 3

Heading into term three, Ms Mouti said kids should expect new norms such as handwashing and social distancing to continue.

Parents can help them prepare by keeping them looped into relevant developments. "Talk in a matter-of-fact manner. For example, tell them that the government is managing COVID-19 and that if we get a cold or cough, we will have to stay home and we might need a test," she said.

"We need to get them used to these changes."

For more on helping kids cope, pick up your free copy of The House Of Wellness winter edition with your paper this weekend.

Originally published as Why you should get the kids to recharge over winter



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