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Summer often means a change to the usual routine for families, and maybe a holiday! We’ve sent out some special summer updates dedicated to topics relating to the summer holiday season (and to help parents prepare for it), as well as sharing lots of links on social media. We hope all the information will make the summer a little easier for parents (and other family carers, of course). This post highlights a few of the topics/links to information which we’ve shared recently.

Parents may ask relatives to help with childcare; if they’re less confident with technology than the children, Internet Matters’ guide to online safety for grandparents is a useful read (for parents and other family carers  too!). There’s also advice for parents and carers from Childnet about staying safe online in the summer holidays and information from Family Lives about staying safe in teen chat rooms. Children under the age of 5 are spending more time online and ThinkUKnow’s advice can help keep them safe online. The Safer Internet Centre has online safety guides specifically for foster and adoptive parents, including conversation starters. 

There are lots of activities aimed at families in Worcestershire – some free, some not – and many youngsters will want increased independence to go out without an adult. The NSPCC’s advice about staying safe away from home could be useful, as well as their advice about how to decide if your child is ready to be left alone at home without an adult. There’s also information about staying safe when you’re out and about from the Child Accident Prevention Trust for all ages. The Family Lives charity has tips about setting boundaries for teenagers (a useful read at any time of year) and also advice for parents if a teenager goes on holiday with friends (with advice for teenagers too). 

If you’re looking for ways to keep young children active, the Change 4 Life site has some ideas, including 10 minute shakeups. Young Star Wars fans can also train like a Jedi.  For anyone who goes swimming (or just near water) in summer, water safety information is important (cold water shock can kill, even in sunshine). The Royal Life Saving Society’s summer water safety tips are a good place to start; the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s Respect the Water campaign includes a Float to Live film. West Mercia Search and Rescue’s Home and Dry site includes a free online water-safety course which takes just 20 – 30 minutes but could help you save a life.

August is the time when many teenagers get results, such as BTECs, A-levels and GCSEs; one of our summer specials was dedicated to results and options for what to do next. 

Young Minds’ advice for both parents and young people about exam results stress could be useful for many families and the Blurt Foundation has a letter to those expecting exam results

Teenagers (and parents) can speak to an advisor on the Exam Results helpline (and webchat) for impartial advice; it’s open 8am – 10pm until 30th August. (It’s still possible to get careers advice after that, but they expect mainly exam results queries until September). The National Careers Service also has a new (free) online Skills Assessment tool to find out what job categories/roles might be suitable. The Department for Work and Pensions has an article outlining some opportunities to consider for a post-exam plan.

There are a few websites dedicated to career opportunities in Worcestershire. The County Council’s Careers Central site includes job profiles and helpful hints. Skills4Worcestershire, a Worcestershire careers site, has lots of information for young people, parents and schools about employment in our county. The Worcestershire Apprenticeships site has information about the types of apprenticeships available as well as current vacancies.

Apprenticeships are sometimes overlooked, so you may be surprised by the options available. Between August 19th and September 6th there are a number of Apprenticeship Roadshow events (and three job fairs) taking place around the county – check out the dates and venues here. If you want to know more about apprenticeships in general, this Parents’ Pack was updated in May 2019 and has lots of information. 

Finally, some young people find the summer holidays hard because of depression so the Blurt Foundation has some tips to help. Anyone up to the age of 25 who is experiencing a mental health crisis can text the Young Minds’ Crisis Messenger service for support.

Are the summer holidays ever child’s play for parents? Well no, probably not, but hopefully some of our links to information may have helped. All the links above are just a selection – our summer special email updates have included even more!,  If you’d like to receive our updates, we’ll need your email address – you can sign up here (and if you decide you don’t want them, just tell us).

Thanks for reading, do come back soon.