29 Sep 2021

Auckland parents prepare for school holidays in lockdown

12:44 pm on 29 September 2021

The school holidays start next week but for many Auckland parents it will be more of the same - being at home with the kids.

Tū Manawa will fund play and active recreation for children from five to 18 years old.

Photo: 123rf

Into their seventh week of lockdown they have the unenviable task of entertaining their children without playdates or grandparents unless the government decides on Monday that there will be a quick move to level 2.

University of Auckland clinical psychologist Dr Melanie Woodfield said many will be facing the upcoming holidays with some apprehension.

"There'll be a lot of weariness, fatigue, exhaustion. Normally the beginning of the school holidays marks a time of transition and perhaps a time of rest or respite - not for every family - but this is going to be really different to how things normally are so there might be some kind of trepidation about how the holidays are going to go."

She said it would help to keep some rhythm to each day and to set realistic expectations.

"The thoughts and feelings that we have as adults, as parents, can really make or break the day," Woodfield said.

"Parents will be really familiar with that. You start the day thinking 'this is going to be amazing, I'm going to provide all sorts of stimulating activities while simultaneously being in five Zoom meetings for work' and you get to the end of the day and oftentimes you've said and done things that in the ideal world you wouldn't have wanted to do.

"That situation is avoidable if we have really realistic and kind expectations of ourselves and what we can achieve during the day."

Parents RNZ spoke to during a socially distanced stroll at Potter's Park hope to be released from lockdown during the school holidays.

"Definitely level 2 because our son really misses his friends and we really miss our friends as well," Christine Si said.

"You see quite a few people here today, and we all have to keep our distance and wear a mask, so it's still quite hard to not be able to have a good chat."

Kirsten Cathels said moving down from level 3 would allow them to see people outside their family bubble.

"We're hoping for level 2. I think the plan will just be playdates, and that would make a big difference because then we've got other people to hang out with."

Dr Woodfield said it is normal for parents to view alert level 2 and the re-opening of school as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

But given the uncertainty parents should focus on small obtainable pleasures and be kind to themselves, she said.

"Trying to inject little regular moments of pleasure rather than holding out for a big arrival of happiness when the kids go back to school because there are a lot of unknowns around that."

Under alert level 2, school holiday programmes can run.

Kelly Club operates 30 school holiday programmes in Auckland and managing director Paul Jamieson said they are taking bookings for the Auckland programmes despite the uncertainty of when the city moves to level 2.

"At the moment there'll be parents that need a break and there'll be kids that need a break so I think it's incredibly important that these holidays do happen for people's saneness," he said.

"If we come out of level 3 next Wednesday we're certainly expecting there to be a bit of an avalanche of bookings and parents that can say 'great we can get on with things'."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs