With school holidays looming, parents are encouraged to get organised and plan ahead in order to enjoy valuable family time and a hassle-free school holiday period.
School holidays can be an extremely stressful time, especially for working parents. With the summer school holidays being even longer, it can feel like an eternity waiting for school to start back up. However, with a few simple steps you can be on track to have an enjoyable and stress-free school holiday period.
CREATE A CALENDAR
Make sure you and your kids know what is planned ahead of time.
Before the school holidays begin, we sit down and fill out a calendar for the upcoming weeks. This helps the kids see what I have planned, and for them to suggest some fun things they want to do outside the home, like sports clinics. It also helps me work out what days we have free for play dates, days I need to work from home and when I need to organise a babysitter.
KNOW YOUR BUDGET
Set a budget for activities outside the home and stick to it.
While it can be fun to take the kids to the movies, play centres and sporting events, it can also get expensive, especially after spending money on Christmas presents. I advise families to create a balance between these activities and down time at home, so you have one or two days filled with movies and play centres between activities at home and more affordable things like trips to the park.
USE ACTIVITY CARDS
Create activity cards that children can use to plan out their day
The hardest part about school holidays is needing to find activities to entertain your children each day. There is nothing worse than the dreaded ‘I’m bored’ two hours into the first day of holidays.
At the start of the holidays, I sit down with my kids and write down a whole range of activities on cards and put them into a hat. When my children get to the ‘I’m bored’ stage, we pull out the hat and pick out cards that they can do by themselves or that we can do together. They can be as simple as playing board games, having a movie night at home or going to the zoo.
HAVE HEALTHY SNACKS ON HAND
Fill the fridge and pantry with healthy snacks
Children are constantly hungry, so it is important to have nutritious snacks on hand, both pre-packaged and fresh, so you aren’t getting “Mom, I’m hungry!” every 5 minutes. One of the activities we do is to cook together so my children can create their favourite treats and they know this is in the fridge when they need.
CALL ON YOUR COMMUNITY
Ask for help! Arrange playdates or bring in a babysitter
“If possible, share the load with other working parents and schedule playdates or sleepovers. We can help you find babysitters or facilitate school holiday programs and sporting programs which can help mix up having the kids at home all the time, especially if you do need to work from home.
TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
School holidays are a huge change in your routine so find some time in for yourself
Having your children at home can be fantastic, but it can also be really draining, so it is important to take care of yourself. Take the opportunity to have a lie in, snuggle with your kids but also book a babysitter or schedule a sleepover for your kids with a friend or family member so you can go have a coffee by yourself and run errands if need be.
For even more tips for entertaining your children in the school holidays, check out this throwback video from Caroline!