Why is downtime important for your kids in the holidays?

It doesn’t take long for holidays to come around…. And now with the Summer Holidays (finally!!) here we know there are *lots of parents who are in search of things …. To keep their kids occupied.

As much as the continuous stretch of school has parents expressing the excitement for their child in the upcoming holiday season…. It is quickly replaced with – so what can I get my kid to do in the holidays….. And the replacement of school routines, with holiday non-routines. 

While we certainly understand that the holiday is long and provides a great opportunity for your child to catch up on missed skills ready for the new year, we also recommend leaving extra holiday sessions until the new year – and even from mid jan (2 weeks before school starts).

It is hugely important for families to have plenty of downtown to recuperate after the busy-ness of the school year. The non-stop activities that although keeps our kiddos occupied, also means that in some cases we may over schedule our children, to keep them moving forward.

Holidays are just that. Holidays. And at the end of the year it is important that we remember that holidays are a time to let our hair down, a time for children to have some time off scheduled activities and allow our kids to regenerate their energy ready for a new school year. After all, we don’t want our kids starting the school year overwhelmed, overstimulated, with no breaks and time to come down- before doing it all again. 

So should you do work in the holidays? Well, I’m not going to lie to you. I did go out and grab a few skill books for my daughter to go through. Why? Because the gap between school and the holidays is quite large and I wanted her to have the opportunity to go through the skills she developed across the last year, without that progress going out the window. However, it is not something that I am structuring, enforcing, or making her do. It’s there for her to go through- and you know what, without the pressure she is choosing to go through the skills booklets. They aren’t the greatest booklets (as with anything there are lots of things that need improving), but it is something for her to go through.

However, structured work, that is enforced, when your child just wants the chance to “chill”, could have the opposite effect and mean that your child is still overstimulated and overwhelmed by the start of the school year. 

Why do our kids need to have a break? To rewire their brains, allow their nervous system to come back down and allow them to bring down the stress hormone too! Holidays are such a great opportunity to have unstructured time to relax, with unstructured play, sleeping in, cooking foods they enjoy, spending time outside with family, holiday camps and activities to unwind and relax. It is also a great opportunity to get outside and let our kids experience the world around them in ways that don’t involve money.

Most of all, by allowing our kids to have a real break away from things, it allows us as parents, to spend quality time with our kids, and allows us to get to know them and their quirks, that perhaps in the busy-ness of the year, we don’t get the space or chance to really see and experience. 

So crack out the board games, jigsaw puzzles, cooking and experiences that incorporate both relaxation, learning and skills all in one. 


Alysha Griffiths is a passionate educator, owner of Breakaway Education and a mum to two beautiful little girls. With over 15 years teaching experience, Alysha’s passion lies in education and helping kids and parents to connect the puzzle pieces of education! With a Masters in Teaching (Secondary) a Bachelor of Arts (History, English) and a Graduate Certificate in Education (Learning Difficulties), Alysha continually works to gain more insight and knowledge across many areas of education.

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