Surviving the school holidays!

The holidays are looming! Don’t panic. Holiday time for most parents involves an endless round of keeping the kids amused. But it doesn’t need to be a time of tearing one’s hair out. 

There is no need to break the budget or create more grey hairs; all it takes is a bit of forward planning and some imagination. The key to happy kids and happy mums is to try and find a balance between excitement and relaxation. Organise enough outings to keep the children busy, while planning activities at home in between, when everyone can recover and relax.

Believe or not I love school holidays: especially the change of pace it brings to our life. No rushed mornings trying to find lost school shoes, uniforms to iron, no homework, lunches to pack, no buses to catch, just relaxed moments of lazy nothingness....really? 

Not in our house. 

The pace is certainly slower, however a certain amount of planning is needed so things run smoothly and I don’t get frazzled. Holidays for us mean catching up with friends and play dates, trips to the park, the movies and any other forms of entertainment I can conger up. 

Keep children of every age busy, off the couch and away from the TV and help make these school holidays fun and survivable! Provide kids with the opportunity to try a new hobby, sport or develop a new interest as well as make some new friends. The school holidays are a wonderful time to let children find passion and curiosity without having to commit to something long term. 

Your particular home situation will determine the level of organisation you will need to cope with the school holidays, but regardless of your situation, planning always help things run smoothly, whether you are a working or stay at home parent. 

When it comes to entertainment during the holidays, I now take input from the kids about what sort of activities they would like to do. It’s all about negotiating! The aim is to have a mix of days at home and then days when the family get out and try something new. 

From experience I have learnt that having too many ‘things’ organised, ends up with over tired, irritable kids and a very stressed out mum and dad. If we spend too much time at home, ‘cabin fever’ can set in which can be just as bad. 

The thing about the holidays is that no matter how many ‘free’ activities are on offer, it can turn into a bit of a financial pitfall – going to the movies, lunch out somewhere and admission to the numerous attractions on offer. 

Often parents fall into the trap that school holidays need to be at a cracking pace, however it doesn’t have to be about rushing from one activity to the next to keep the kids entertained. Some days at home chilling and enjoying each other’s company can be really good for the soul. Going for a bike ride, baking a cake or watching a DVD together can be just as much fun.

It’s worth remembering that children just need some attention, someone to listen to them and lots of hugs; and none of these cost any money!

Finally the holidays are to have fun and enjoy time with your children.

by Felicity Matthews

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