The importance of transitions in children’s lives: managing successful transition to the summer holidays

3 July 2023

On a daily basis, there are numerous transitions children and young people make in school, e.g. between sessions and classes and between different adults. Our education professionals know that changes in routine are invariably difficult for some children and young people and need to be carefully managed with preparation and support. It is often perceived that the summer holidays are something which all parents and children look forward to but in fact, for some of our more vulnerable children and young people and their families or carers, this can be a challenging time of the year.

Structure and routine reassures children and young people in need of a nurturing approach and often the last weeks of school will be different from the norm, so they may well be unsettled to begin with. This could mean that they are dysregulated or easily upset, even though they are theoretically “looking forward” to no more school for six weeks. It is not just an issue for children and young people either, even adults can find a change in the normal routine challenging as differences in routine can affect the way we usually interact with our children and young people leading to uncertainty as to how to best support them.

Here at nurtureuk we know it is important to plan for transition and support it, with a view to reducing anxiety and promoting security. We have collated a few ideas for parents and carers for you here to help with that transition with some helpful links to free resources and advice to ensure that the summer holidays are fun and enjoyable for everyone. Before you look at the links here is some advice for your holiday plans from a nurturing approach perspective:

As always, we advocate developmentally appropriate approaches to ensure that each child or young person is learning and having fun at their own pace and level. When we support at their stage not age, we break down the barriers to learning and engagement and tap into the things that they enjoy and respond to, leading to renewed confidence and a sense of fun. When you look at the resources we have shared with you think of the following points:

  • Could my child access this activity as it stands?
  • How can I simplify this? (Through short achievable steps for example)
  • How can I make this more challenging? (Some children and young people who need a nurturing approach may be academically and intellectually strong and enjoy being challenged.)
  • What are my child’s strengths, how can I make sure I utilise them in this activity?
  • Can I build their interests into this activity?
  • Using this as inspiration, have I got any ideas like this myself which I can build into further plans?
  • How can I make sure this is fun? Fun, laughter, and joy are key for positive regard and building trusting, loving relationships. When trusting bonds are created the limbic system deep within our brains responds and creates a feeling of warmth and connectivity that can help your child grow in confidence and self-esteem, leading to a sense of feeling safe enough to take the risk to learn something new.

Wishing you all a happy and reviving summer break and a chance to recharge for the Autumn Term.

Resources, advice and information

1. Lucy Carmen from Parents Digest has some great advice called Six Tips for Six Weeks, which are:

  • Consider holding onto some routine while being adaptable.
  • Get talking.
  • Have plans for the first week.
  • Keep up with friends over the summer.
  • Keep a record.
  • Don’t feel you have to fill every moment.

She gives detail to these ideas and lots of advice and information to help you and your child have a successful and happy summer along with links to some great summer resources from Twinkle.

2. Education Specialist Katrin Harrow from Family Futures provides some useful tips on how to cope with and manage some changes and transitions your child might be facing during the summer break. The article includes discussion around how it may affect looked after or adopted children. She provides us with 8 tips for the summer, with really good ideas and advice.

3. Our final pick is a great blog from the Foster for Coventry website, which has some top tips for the summer break from parents and foster carers, for example: 

“We put a massive piece of paper on the wall with ‘this holiday I would like to…’ in the middle. Everyone can write ideas on. It can range from the everyday ‘play on my scooter’ to the more adventurous ‘climb a mountain’ or mindful ‘watch a sunset’ or educational ‘geek stuff’ or even ‘eat chocolate’!” – Sarah

“We saw an idea on the internet, and we now have a ‘boredom jar’ at home. We put ideas for activities in there – like Lego challenges, do a jigsaw, doodle, write a funny poem, find a bug in the garden – but also jobs that need doing around the house, so when they say “I’m bored” they get to pick something from the jar. It’s a bit of a gamble for them, but it’s also seen as a game. It seems to work!” – Scott

We love this blog because these are real parents and tried and tested ideas!