Tips on how families can cope with school holidays spent in COVID lockdown

1 July 2021

Director of UQ’s Parenting and Family Support Centre Professor Matthew Sanders features in this ABC article providing tips for parents during lockdown.

Like many Australians, Joel Miller's plan to spend several days exploring a beautiful spot away from home with his family this school holiday period hasn't quite worked out.

But rather than completely cancelling their plans and heading home, Mr Miller and his wife Stefanie Smith, a teacher, decided to abide by their state's lockdown restrictions in the hotel room they had booked at Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast.

People living in parts of the Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia and all of New South Wales remain subject to lockdown restriction as health authorities race to curb the spread of COVID.

Across the country, the lockdowns have coincided with school holiday periods, except for WA, where school holidays are due to begin at the end of this week.

Since the early days of the pandemic, UQ's Professor Matt Sanders has been developing resources to help families cope with the change.

Professor Sanders said there are simple, but important steps parents can take to help guide young people through situations like lockdowns.

Things like keeping to a routine, listening carefully to your kids and even having a spontaneous family dance can all help.

He said amid the chaos, understanding that the larger events associated with the pandemic were largely out of individuals' control was key.

"It brings back home the fundamental importance of controlling the things you can control," he said.

"That is to exercise a greater level of control over your day-to-day, moment-to-moment environment, which includes your relationship with your kids, with your partners, with the people you're working with."

Professor Sander said embracing personal agency and ability to make a difference for the family unit was important.

"Let others worry about the big picture affecting the universe," he said.

"You can think globally but act locally, in a very concrete way."

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