Another school year, your children have learned a lot and it is time for a break. The
summer holidays lie ahead. Some people embrace the change and let term time patterns
and routines have a holiday too. Late breakfasts, less tidying, more being outside. Some
people will continue working and be arranging for other people to look after their children
while some of you will find the thought of the holidays a bit overwhelming. Whatever your
reality, the summer holidays bring a change of rhythm and pace. To fully embrace this and
ease gently into the next few weeks, I’ll often start by asking my clients to take a bit of time
to think and plan for themselves first. Find 10 minutes for yourself in a quiet moment this
week and, thinking about you, answer the following questions:

How do I want to be this summer?
How do I want to feel in the holidays?
What thoughts do I want to have?
How do I want to react in situations of tears, tantrums and tension?
For the next few weeks, what can I let go of?
How do I want to be at the end of the holidays?

By giving yourself the time to answer these questions and others like them this week, you
are making plans and setting the tone that will work for you and your family this summer.
You may have babies and sleepless nights, toddlers with piles of lego and crayons and
puzzles everywhere, you may have slightly older children who are enjoying doing more
things for themselves like being involved in cooking, playing games by themselves and
going for bike rides with their friends. You may have teenagers who could well sleep their
way through the best weather and be mono syllabic a lot of the time walking around with
headphones on.

Whatever stage your children are at being realistic about where you are at as a family is
key to a happy vibe. If you plan a day out to a dinosaur museum your 15 year old may not
enjoy this and your toddler may not be able to last all day. What are the best outings for us
at the moment and how long is a realistic amount of time for us to all stay having fun? If
you are stressed and not having fun and doing things because you think you ought to that
stress will vibrate through your family. So keep it real and ask, What works for us at the

Anna and I were having a great Business coaching session last week and she told me
about her mantra of seeking out the Daily Joy. I thought this was a lovely phrase and it
made me think about the holidays. Your days will have ups and downs, tired children, tired
parents – both can lead to sulks and arguments, See those moments for what they are – a
dip in blood sugar, a lack of sleep, a traffic jam. During those days there will also be
moments of joy – things that make you smile and shared times when you all laugh out loud.
Put your focus on these moments. It can be a fun exercise for you all to play at the end of
the day to recall and share with each other a particular joyful moment or two that was
special for each of you.

Children will learn to tie their shoe laces with summer, others will swim for the first time
without armbands, some will master riding a bike and some may even make their beds!!
Lots of learning and small moments of Daily Joy to be celebrated. They count for a lot.

An important point is to avoid comparison and your planning at thinking about your vibe at
this stage will help you avoid that. As my coach friend Janey says: ‘Comparison is the
thief of Joy’.

You may know people who have what sound like amazing summer plans and you may not
have plans yet or feel that yours don’t measure up. Put away that particular measuring
stick. Your families summer is your families summer and whatever your particular family
make up and circumstances there is fun and joy to be had in whatever you are doing and
this is the very best place to put your focus.

How you react to situations is a choice. If your plane was delayed, if it rain constantly on
your camping holiday, if the house was a constantly covered in toys, cooking with children
makes lots of mess, if you don’t enjoy playing with your children, if you had to work every
week of the holidays and if your plans got unexpectedly changed there will be moments of
joy in all these situations. Seek them out.

Reporting that while the plane was delayed you all sat on the airport floor and played uno
for hours, fish and chips on a rainy Welsh beach actually tastes extra good, the lego
creations have reached a new level of complexity, fairy cake heaven was created in the
kitchen, I actually did allow myself to relax into childsplay, when I phoned the children from
work they sounded like they were having a great time – these and others like them are the
moments I am talking about. It is your choice where you put your focus.

Good luck with some simple planning and I hope you all have great summers filled with
many joyful moments.

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