Expectations and acceptance

For many families this summer will be different. With some restrictions still in place, and lots of clubs and activities still closed, you and your children might feel fed up or disappointed. Talking about your expectations and accepting what’s possible can help you all have a better summer.

Focus on what you can do

Right now, it’s easy to focus on the things we’re not allowed to do. There might be something your child really wants to do that’s still restricted – like going to the swimming pool. Acknowledge their disappointment and let them know you know it’s tough. Taking the time to talk about it will help your child feel heard and can help them feel a bit better.

Don’t stay focussed on the things you’re missing. Talk with your child about the fun things you can do and what they might enjoy. For lots of children (and adults!) spending time with friends helps us feel better – set up some playdates and they might forget they’re not at the pool. Your child might feel a bit nervous about seeing other people, and that’s OK too. Ask your children what they would enjoy.

Be honest

As tempting as it might get, try not to promise your child anything you can’t deliver on. There’s still a lot of uncertainty. It’s best to be honest if you don’t know when you’ll be able to do something. It might not go down well but it will hopefully avoid getting your children’s hopes up and a bigger disappointment in the long run. Find something you can do now instead.

Be honest with your child about your own feelings and frustrations, where it's appropriate to do so. If you do something you expected to be ‘back to normal’ and it still feels strange say that to your child. They might be feeling it too and your honesty will let them know they’re not alone in finding this time confusing. It also shows that its ok to share and talk about feelings.

Stress is our body’s way of dealing with scary, overwhelming or traumatic situations. What makes us stressed varies from person to person, and we all have limits as to what we can cope with.

Most of us know that stress is bad for us. But understanding a bit more about how we can reduce stress can really help us as parents – and help our children. Take a look at our page on coping with stress.

Be curious

Different members of your family might have different ideas of how they want to spend the holidays. Try not to assume you know what they are thinking – ask them what they want to do and they might surprise you.

Don’t be surprised if your teenager is less excited to spend time away from screens than you are this summer! Can you come to a compromise? Maybe you could even have a go at their favourite video game.

We all have different comfort levels with things like being in public places and being with other people again. Be curious about what your family members want from their holidays and why. If you listen and are understanding you have a better chance of being listened to in return.

 

Manage your own expectations

Be kind to yourself. The summer holidays can be difficult, even when all the clubs and activities you’re used to are open. Some families are telling us they are seeing more changes in their children’s behaviour now than in lockdown.

Don’t worry if you don’t have an amazing activity planned for every day of your child’s holiday. Your children will remember moments that they feel happy and spend time with you and the people they love. That can be something as simple as playing outside or baking a cake.

Children take their lead from the adults around them. If you are obviously frustrated or fed up they will feel it as well. Try to be positive and excited about the things you’re doing. To do that you need to look after yourself. Give yourself permission to have a holiday too.

Think about things you can do to give yourself some time to relax. Our Care Cards can help you think about things you and your family can do to feel better.

Ask your friends and family members for help now that you can all be together. You can always return the favour another day. Try to accept that you can’t do everything all the time and remember that both you and your children will benefit from a happier, more relaxed you.

And if you need to talk, we’re here for you. Get in touch with Children 1st Parentline over the phone or on webchat, seven days a week. We’re here to support every family in Scotland.