Children. How to keep a good rhythm during school holidays

The school year is over and the children’s long awaited moment is coming. The austerity of the school is over, the canteen at lunchtime, the ban on watching cartoons in the morning, going to bed early, math exercises … it’s almost summer vacation!

If the prospect of a relaxation of daily restrictions is something that pleases the youngest, it would be counterproductive for some parents to lose good habits that have been difficult to acquire during the year. The holidays are admittedly first and foremost a vector for a well-deserved rest after ten months of hard work on the school benches, but they should not mean a clean slate of a rhythm of life adapted to the child. Otherwise beware of the start of the school year …

Beware of small deviations!

A lie-in here, an evening movie there … Sleep is the first to be affected during the summer holidays. The child’s biological rhythm, specific to each of them, is not quite the same as the school’s rhythm. Holidays are therefore a way to let him listen better to his body while not disturbing his habits too much.

  • Up to the age of 6, you have to stay in the same rhythm as in everyday life, although the temptation of a late bedtime seems to promise parents too late. In fact, this technique does not work and the little one only loses precious rest time which he cannot catch up with.
  • In addition to 6 years, sleep is extended, and it is then possible to move the bedtime by an hour or two during night excursions. To counteract the lack of rest, we can anticipate the day before, by putting the baby to bed an hour earlier if it cannot sleep in the morning. It is above all the little one who will dictate his law as to sleep: if he shows signs of fatigue during the day, it is necessary to return to the usual rhythm. A few days before the start of the school year, it is also recommended to resume the same bedtime ritual as during the school period.

Until the age of six, it is good to stick to the usual schedules.

Holidays are also synonymous with barbecues with friends, excursions to the fairgrounds accompanied by crispy churros or small ice creams to enjoy in the sea spray. So many little gourmet varieties that change from day to day.

The concept of pleasure is of course very important to disconnect from everyday life, but like every little sprain, everything is a matter of moderation. In terms of food, holidays are above all a way of approaching cooking in a different way. We have time to prepare the meal, try new flavors and introduce the kids to dishes they are not used to. Why not let them taste, for example, the local dishes at the place where they are?

It is also an opportunity to cook with them, a family activity and full of learning for the little ones. As for the timing of meals, although we can afford some flexibility, it should be defined at the beginning of the holiday and not vary too much. In addition to its importance to the child’s biological rhythm, it also ensures a moment that is shared with the family.

Holiday notebooks are not required

Holidays put schooling on hold. The ability to give the child time to reconnect with what surrounds it. Holiday notebooks during this period are not required.

However, other more playful but equally important learning can be experienced. Excursions to the museum, discovering new environments, creative activities … There are plenty of ways to make these two months go by in an instant for children, while keeping their attention awake. But this must be done away from all stress and pressure.


Three more questions Elena Goutard, parent coach

“Do not be afraid that the child will be bored”

Why are vacations important for a child?

Like us, children have very busy schedules during the year, between school, leisure activities, trips … Although the weekends are there to help them recover, holidays are a real break and a general release where they can think about the present. moment. It does the body very well, there is recovery at all levels – physiological, emotional, mental. The child regains the necessary resources to understand the new year or the new quarter.

Some parents fear that their child will get bored during the holidays because he no longer has as much activity as usual …

We are very concerned about it because we are in a society where efficiency is sought. When you are a parent, you will sometimes want your child to learn all the time. This is to forget that when the brain is overloaded, it is less efficient and it affects learning. When we are tired, we understand less well, we remember less. If we try to adopt the child permanently, we deprive him of this rest he needs. In general, children manage to occupy themselves if given time. There are probably moments of boredom, but you have to be completely comfortable with that, even if he whines a little because he does not know what to do. You really have to trust your ability to take care of yourself.

Children’s brains, like adults, do not like a vacuum; after a moment of boredom, the child will draw on his resources by stimulating creativity and imagination. Do not be afraid of boredom, on the contrary, it is one of the biggest benefits of vacation. It is also an opportunity to do activities with your children and get small moments of participation, of connection, which can be missed daily. If he really can not take care of himself, we can also put together a small list of weekly activities with him, so that he, for example, leaves a small hour where he does nothing. Of course, it is important to pay attention to the screens. While we may be a little more flexible because it’s the holiday, it should not go automatically when he’s bored.

Should we keep a rhythm in school learning thanks to the holiday notebooks, for example?

For me, holidays are holidays. It is not the goal to continue school learning. The child needs this break, to no longer have to think about anything. This helps him to resume faster the following year. For the holiday notebooks, if the kids are in demand because it makes them an activity – in general, these notebooks are very playful – why not? However, it is necessary to put a minimum of framework on it to know how to manage the “news effect” and not end up with four to five holiday notebooks that have barely started at the end of the summer. However, it can be interesting to take advantage of the holidays when your child is having major problems at school. We can help him go through certain basic things, without putting any particular pressure, but in a fun way. Fractions, when playing Lego, for example …

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