More things to keep parents and kids sane and happy in the school holidays:
- Watch movies. Or series. Yes, I know. Too much screen time is not good for our children. Or for us. But on a rainy day there is just nothing better than cuddling under a cozy blanket, with buckets of popcorn and watching a good old fashioned family friendly movie. Or two. I find if I let my kids have one day of all-out screen time, they are less likely to want to stare at a screen for the rest of the holidays and I can go back to giving them an hour or two throughout the day.
- Don’t worry about getting housework done. I don’t completely stop doing laundry, doing dishes or cleaning house. But I do it more randomly throughout the week. As in, when I notice the lounge carpet has more popcorn crumbs than usual, I whip out the vacuum and get the kids involved in cleaning. The eldest vacuums, the others tidy up couch pillows and blankets, washing gets put in and everyone feels like they’ve contributed to the house being tidy for about ten minutes. Honestly though, when they’ve helped it seems to motivate them to keep it tidy for at least thirty minutes longer than usual.
- Send the kids into the garden. As a stay-at-home mom with three school-aged children and one toddler, I am used to having at least an hour or two a day all to myself. Granted, if it’s not holidays those are the times I get to clean the house, do the laundry and shower. If it is holidays, I don’t generally get those two hours and I need to send the kids out into the fresh air to have a bit of time to gather my brain cells. If it’s raining, I send them to the rumpus room, but an hour of me-time I will have.
- Stick to bedtime. My husband is of the opinion that relaxed bedtimes should apply during holidays. I’m opposed to that view. Simply because I really do enjoy spending time alone with my husband still, and if I had to let my kids stay up late because it is the holidays, it will cut into my time with my husband. He’s still working so he needs his same amount of sleep, which means he still goes to bed early and gets up before I do. So I need to connect with him at night. If bedtimes are relaxed, I believe the kids still need to go to their rooms and do a quiet activity such a reading or drawing. I spend all day chatting and connecting with the kids, night time is for connecting with my husband.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Holidays really feel long when we’re in the midst of it, but it goes so quick, and these are the times our kids will either fondly remember or have no recollection of at all, or blame us for, for the rest of their lives. Worrying about keeping the house neat and tidy while your kids are busy living life is just a trigger for unnecessary stress. Sometimes it’s better to just enjoy the moments and create a memory than to worry about if the house is tidy, if lunch is Pinterest perfect, if your kids are stimulated enough with creative activities, or if their brains are melting from watching too many episodes of Boss Baby. Having your kids dictate their own “routine” once in a while on holiday is a great way to let them learn some responsibility and give them a taste of what it feels like to “be in control”.
Happy autumn holidays parents, hope you all make it through unscathed. Enjoy the special moments and know that you’ve got this!
Lucia is a mum to four young daughters, living a live full of adventure and frills, quiet moments in between giggles and screams. She makes her living capturing memories, mostly with photographs, occasionally with writing. She loves whimsy and fantasy, spiritual depth and parenting on the go. But mostly they try to just keep our lives honest and real. You can find her at her websites Fairies and Rock, Four Shades of Pink, on Facebook and Instagram.