How To Survive The School Holidays
It’s that time of year again where I’m filled with a little bit of excitement and a little bit of dread. The kids break up from school this week and are about to enjoy 6 weeks off together.
The best part of this is nowhere near as much sergeant major shouting about them getting clothes, shoes and coats on. No frantic packing of the school bags or checking of the calendar to see if they’re meant to be going in uniform, PE kits or dressed as Mary bloody Poppins for the day. Fantastic, a nice relaxing time to be had by all. Said no parent ever. The reality is the kids need to be ‘entertained’ for the next 6 weeks and this can be quite daunting both at the task of thinking how to fill the time as well as the expense that it can involve.
“The most important time is family time.”
I’m probably being a bit harsh as I’m actually looking forward to spending some fun, long summer days with the kids and most parents will agree it’s usually only the last 2 weeks that prove to be the most testing. By then they’ve had long enough off to have had some fun and a rest from school but generally by that point they are also showing signs of needing some structure back and want to see all of their friends.
Therefore, my advice is to structure your day. You don’t need to go all militant and have an actual itinerary, just have a plan. It could be as simple as a walk (even better if you have a dog because it’s a job off the to do list too!). Slow start to the day, a nice walk somewhere local to you and back for lunch. There are probably lots of beautiful walks right on your door step that you don’t even know about. Kids love to explore and collect treasure. You could also use a nature trail sheet to keep the kids amused on the walk. Pack snacks to avoid any meltdowns and if it’s a dry day why not pack a picnic too? Head home for the afternoon. Remember that the kids have spent almost every day at school and may not have had chance to really play with all of their toys for a while so now they’re tired out from the walk, they’ll be happy to play.
I love a bit of creative play and I have to say my kids are pretty good at it. Here’s two ideas for a sunny day game and a rainy day game. If it’s a nice day encourage the kids to set up a sports day event. When Adam and Emma set this up recently they had a little table for the judge who had a score sheet and a bell. Then on the grass they set up different events such as a hula hoop, some skipping ropes, a football and goal and a tennis racket and ball. They had such fun and it really did keep them entertained for ages! Even better when the grandparents called in and were made to take part too, ha. The indoor game that my two love to set up is a tombola. They line up various items on the kitchen table, it’s totally irrelevant as to what they are, and they each get a number taped to them. The kids then spend ages cutting out little bits of paper, writing numbers on them and folding them up. This is another one they can literally play for ages. It’s not as active as the sports day game but who wants kids running and leaping around the house anyway?
Fruit picking is a wonderful summer activity for the whole family. You don’t need to look far to find local Pick Your Own places and despite the perception that it’s mega expensive, in my experience its only marginally more expensive than the supermarkets and WAY more fun. The added benefit is the kids are gathering healthy food that they are more likely to eat because they’ve picked it all by themselves. You could also cook something with any left over fruit and have a fun baking session later in the week.
It’s rare that our summer holidays are not filled with days at the beach. I just find it so easy to keep everyone happy there. We’re not ones for heading to seasides that are too busy or commercial. We prefer to find quiet little coves that the kids and dog can explore or beaches that go on for miles. If you can find somewhere with rock pools you are onto an absolute winner. Anything that involves a bit of climbing especially rocks and sand dunes and the kids are in their happy place. There’s just something about being at the beach that makes us all feel good. Take a picnic, the seaside doesn’t have to equal fish and chips, candy floss and arcades. If you spend a small fortune you’re less likely to go back any time soon.
Find a local skate park or recreational area. Let the kids take their bikes, scooters or roller boots and take yours too so you can join in the fun. My two are desperate to go roller skating so we’ll definitely be heading to our local skate park this summer. It’s all in the planning. Don’t do everything in the first week of the summer holidays. Dot ‘exciting’ activities such as day trips at intervals throughout the 6 weeks. Plan to see friends and organise some low key meet ups at play parks. Such small effort for something that ends up being a big deal for the kids,. If it rains (please God no) don’t be put off by going out, just get those wellies and waterproofs on and get out there. Days spent in the house can be very long. Break up each day with an outdoor activity, you and the kids will reap the benefits of the fresh air and exercise.
Most of all, have a great summer everyone! If you have any top tips to survive the school holidays, I’d love to hear them.