Most people have heard of parents disliking the school holidays but it isn’t as common to hear of children hating them too. It may seem to be a weird concept for some, but there are actually children who dislike the school holidays and even possess some anxiety about spending the time away from school. Parents and caregivers are often left to calm stressed out children and come up with ways to manage the anxiety whilst providing practical activities and solutions to holiday care. It is important to acknowledge that these feelings are very real and need to be handled in a delicate manner. Just because it is not a common response to school holidays, it does not mean it is not valid. This response is particularly prevalent in children with additional needs, although it has the potential to affect any child.
First and foremost, parents and caregivers need to understand why the child hates the holidays. This could be for a variety of reasons. They may be uncertain or anxious about holiday care arrangements, concerned about boredom due to the lack of stimulation or peer interaction in the home environment, genuinely feel lost due to the lack of structure that the school day provides, or have another reason which is personal to their own circumstance. Once the reason for the feeling is established, solutions and support can be put in place to ease or eliminate concerns. Alternative arrangements could be made in a different environment or perhaps a few sessions with a qualified professional, like a psychologist, will need to be employed. The reasoning behind the feelings will guide the best course of action to take. Remember, throughout this process your child needs to feel loved, supported and acknowledged so that they are willing to openly partake in suggestions made to practically address concerns in a way that suits your family’s needs.
Sara Drebber is an educational consultant, teacher, writer and mother of three.