’s guide to taking a break

Being a parent is a marathon, not a sprint. You need time to recharge along the way. has some suggestions on how to get the rest you need this summer.


It’s the summer. All the films depict it as a time of freedom, a time to explore and reconnect with the world outside our normal routine. That may be fine for kids, but for parents the summer holidays can seem like even more of a logistics nightmare than usual. How can you make sure you get some kind of rest before the September onslaught? Here are  some suggestions.

  1. Take friends or relatives on holiday or stay with friends and relatives so you have a babysitter on tap. This could, of course, backfire spectacularly if you fall out with said friends and relatives after discovering that you have a completely different approach to both holidays and children and end up never speaking again.
  2. Resist the urge to check work emails when on holiday. Put an out of office message on and delegate emergencies to someone else. Go somewhere where lack of mobile reception is guaranteed like a very dense forest. If you must check emails, do it once a day and time yourself – it concentrates the mind. However, be aware that even looking at one email can trigger stress and undo any relaxation you have managed up to then. You may feel it is worth it to avoid the avalanche when you come back, but only you know how things work best for you.
  3. Get out. Even an hour’s walk around the block can be enough to put things in perspective. If you are looking after kids going out, even once a day, can be an antidote to pent-up nervous energy and sibling clashes. Even if it’s raining…A change of scenery, however brief, can reset things a little.
  4. Exercise the judicious use of locks. When in doubt retire to the bathroom or some space that you can seal off from kids, even if they shout at you through the door or pass urgent notes under it the whole time.
  5. Book regular evenings off for friends, hobbies, etc, to break the work/family routine – in term time and in the holidays.
  6. Take up any offers of help. It takes a village, as they say, and you need to recharge – you’re in this for the long term and regular rest can make the world of difference, even if you don’t think so at the time.

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