How to survive, and thrive, these summer holidays
The school holidays are almost upon us and we’re all looking forward to some time to rest, relax and recharge…
Ah, how quickly we forget. A mere 11 weeks ago we were pulling our hair out to a chorus of “I’m bored” and throwing the iPad at the kids just so we could tackle the laundry.
And that was only a two-week holiday.
Six weeks is long. And there’s nothing wrong with having a strategy or two to help you stay sane these holidays (that don’t involve wine and babysitters – although those can be pretty handy too).
- Set ground rules early on
Before you do anything, set some ground rules around screen time, daily rest time, chores, outdoor/exercise time and bedtime at the beginning of the holiday (not a week in when they’re already in the lazy, late-night groove).
- Create a cardboard city
For younger kids, keep your Christmas cardboard boxes and make your backyard or lounge room into the ultimate den. If the summer weather is on your side, you can stretch out the activity by getting your kids painting and decorating with crayons and stickers and furnishing their creations with old pillows and sheets.
- Make a MasterMess
I usually avoid cooking with my kids during term time. It’s just too messy and time consuming and I’m far too much of a control freak. But my kids love to cook. Younger kids can load up their own homemade pizzas and decorate cupcakes (you can do all the chopping). If the kids are old enough, let them create their own ‘instant restaurant’ then sit back and enjoy someone else cooking for you – even if it is just beans on toast.
- Break out the sprinkler
Sprinklers + summer + my sons = hours of fun. Not very environmentally friendly but it keeps them cool, entertains them and the garden stays happy too.
- Get crafty
From Lego marble runs to pipe cleaner ninjas – pick one of these ‘boy-approved’ craft projects (that girls will love too) and create something worthy of going straight to the pool room.
- Use your relations (if you have them) and friends
Don’t feel bad about taking a break from your kids – the focus should be on quality time not quantity time. You may well have moments when you feel frazzled and need a break, so take up any offers of help/playdates/sleepovers. The kids will love being spoilt by Grandma or staying up late and watching movies with a school mate, and you can repay the favour if your friend or relative has kids of their own.
- Being bored is OK
It’s great to have some activity based ammo up your sleeves, but don’t fall into the trap of becoming your child’s fulltime entertainer. Your kids need to learn to make their own fun. Just remember to show an interest when your child is busy and absorbed, not just when they’re bored and seeking attention.
Good luck. I’ll see you on the other side.
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