It's summer! We are less often at home and the family routine is invariably upset. What if it had less impact than we think on the lives of our children?
Sleeps later, picnic or restaurant meals more often, long hours of driving for vacations or family outings… Many of us are sometimes worried about the routine of our little loves, installed little by little, at the cost of long months of effort and rigour! What if it was ultimately profitable for them to live life at another pace on occasion? What if, as parents, we simply decided to enjoy life and the holidays too?
Kids need a vacation too
Yes, children need stable benchmarks, all parents and child specialists agree on this. But children also need a vacation, to feel more flexibility in the family structure at times. And summer is the perfect time to "hitch" our sacrosanct routine where everything is planned to the quarter turn. Remember the summers of your childhood and what marked you: going to the cinema in your pajamas, falling asleep by the fire on dad's lap,mouth still covered with marshmallows, breakfasts in front of the TV on rainy mornings while mom reads the newspaper in her dressing gown, coffee in hand.
“At my house, my father woke us (me and my two sisters) very early in the morning and told us to get ready quickly. We were going to “la cueva del pirata” (the pirate’s cave). Which meant we were driving to no particular destination. I have this side of my dad. On weekends (with my boyfriend) we get up and go anywhere. There it is limited to not too far (Montreal, or no more than two hours away). But when the kids are older, Quebec is ours! » Sophia, mother of Marianne 4 years old and Guillaume 1 year old
“What I loved about my childhood holidays was seeing my friends in a context other than school…. Playing outside until dusk, going to bed later and especially endless swimming! Summer was and still is my favorite season! » Geneviève mother of Jérémy 5 years old, Audrey-Ann 3 years old, and Angélie 22 months
Even if the young child has a very good ability to adapt, certain elements of stability are still important for him to feel safe. If you're traveling, a favorite stuffed animal or blanket will help him feel more confident no matter where he sleeps.
Whether you're at home or away, if falling asleep occurs later, still try to do a short ritual that's similar to what you hadintroduced into your usual routine: bath, little story, lullaby or tender moment with mom or dad before bedtime. It will help her have a more peaceful sleep.
“At home, it's the bedtime routine that is maintained. The time of this routine is variable, but it always remains the same. My eldest son also often asks me what we will do: “and then? and after? So I take this opportunity to tell him what awaits him. And when we have to make long journeys by car, we travel during bedtime hours ideally. » Karine, mother of Louis-Philippe 3 years old, Marie-Soleil 2 years old and Marc-Antoine 3 months old
For meals, prepare in advance ham, chicken, hard-boiled eggs, pre-cut raw vegetables, homemade muffins or cookies, or store-bought snacks that are easy to take away. This will make it easier for you to leave unexpectedly for a picnic or a weekend camping. And despite the inevitable treats – lollipops and ice cream, marshmallows and candies – it will be easier for you to continue to ensure that your children continue to eat well too.
“We drop schedules pretty much for everything! For meals, of course we keep a moment when everyone sits at the table, but sometimes the desire to play and the excitement of the holidays is too great to be hungry so I don't fight not! For food, I always have snacks so even if he doesn't eat real meals, Antoine eats anyway. For Rosalie it's easier, I put her in thebreast and hop on we go! But her schedule gets messed up too, because she's too curious and wants to be in on the action instead of sleeping or drinking. » Julie, mother of Antoine 2 years and 10 months and of Rosalie 3 months and a half
Many parents are now opting for vacations filled with small activities here and there, one or two day outings, activities with family or friends rather than two or three weeks of “block” vacations. After an intense year, many parents need to get away from their structured daily life and sometimes have neither the money, nor the energy, nor the desire to plan a big vacation outside.
After all, we all have access, more or less close to home, to a park for an impromptu picnic, a small wooded area to pick up insects with the children, festivals, shows or other activities outdoors that will make us enjoy the beautiful days with the family!
"During the holidays, everyone is slowing down, we take the time to live together, we sprinkle the holidays with a few outings for a day or two and we go to grandpa's in Montreal. This year we are adding camping to the program, just to spend a few evenings around a campfire and see people you don't have time to see during the year, weekends with friends with the children. …” Chrystelle, mother of Camille 14 years old, Raphaël 9 and a half years old and Zoé 2 years old
In short, it's summer! Take the time to live, to enjoy every moment, to savor the pleasure of being together. those moments thatwill be a bit magical for your children, because things are not quite as usual. Sunny memories that will be worth much more than the few days needed to put the “real routine” back in place at the end of the summer. And which will probably make your offspring also want to continue this tradition of "vacation routine" with their own children!