The school holidays are here again and your children will be with you all day and night – at least during the hours you’re not at work. Depending on how prepared you are, it can either be a time of joy, companionship and learning, or a period of unbearable torture. Ideally, it’s a well-deserved respite from waking up early, packing lunches, and making sure the children really did wash behind their ears.
There’s a lot you can do to make sure these holidays are a time of learning and relaxation for everyone. Any plans you make should stimulate their growth in all areas – physical, mental, and emotional. You should also consider your budgets, and choose pocket-friendly activities that will stretch throughout the holidays. Here are some tips to help you survive the school holidays.The first step is to come up with a plan of activities.
Schedule your holiday events and put them up where everyone can see, like on the fridge door. A good plan should include different blocks of time-based activities. Select events that are appropriate for after breakfast, midmorning, after lunch, early evening, or even after dinner. Just as an example, it’s prudent to plan for outdoor play before lunch, when the weather is conducive for long periods of energetic movement.
For balmy, sluggish afternoons, it’s smarter to opt for indoor games, or maybe pool play, if you have a swimming pool at home. (Inflatable pools can work, though you can install an above-ground pool for around $3,000.) When coming up with the plan, consider the weekly weather forecast. And after every indoor activity, set aside time for the kids to clean up after themselves. It teaches them responsibility, while making it easier to maintain a clean house.
Mix up their play
For it to be a wholesome holiday, try to include different types of activities in your schedule. Inside play, outdoor activities, and learning should all be incorporated. This ensures you stimulate your child’s motor skills, as well as their intellectual, social, and psychological capacity. For indoor play, you can have the kidsparticipate in arts and crafts.
They can make bracelets, finger paint with edible paint, and role play in domestic games (e.g. playing house, school, shop, office, pirates, or even fore station). You can also incorporate opportunities for learning, through activities such as baking and pizza-making. These will not only be fun for you and the children,but also provide ‘teaching moments’.
Outdoor play may involve nature trails, treasure hunts, and games like chalk city, which can be set up in your drive way. Something else you might want to consider is setting up play dates with children in the neighbourhood. This can be achieved by investing in a playset product, such as the Geoclimber. It’s a compact play area where children can build up their fitness and balance.
Help around the house
Other products that could make playtime exciting are rockers and seesaws. These are better for younger kids, from toddlers to about 5 or 6 years. Older kids might still enjoy these gentle small-group games, especially if they’re quieter, or more introverted. There’s a wide variety of these playsets, including theBushwood horsy rocker and the Waverider with springs.
Adding chores to their holiday calendar lessens your workload. It also helps your kids position themselves in the domestic space. It shows they have a valuable role in the family, and boosts their sense of self, autonomy, and independence. (Plus it begins to equip them for when they finally move it in a decade or so.) It can also be a fun way to reward their efforts. For instance, putting away their toys after play could see them earn a dollar.
Other chores involvecleaning their room, setting the table, cleaning the driveway, walking the dog, or even doing the dishes. They can fold laundry, prep dinner, water houseplants, and clean the bath after their shower. The harder the chore is to complete, the greater their reward, and they get to decide how they spend their cash. (Advise them to save some of it though.)
Plan for quiet time
Having some quiet time with your children teaches them the value of mental space, but also the importance of bonding with the people you love. This designated downtime fosters independence. Activities include family movies, board games, and storytelling. You can also throw in technical but creative tasks such as origami.
They can learn to make simple crafts such as fish, boats, and birds. Something else that is highly encouraged for quality time is leisure reading. When they’re little, read to them, and as they go grow, read with them, or listen to audio books together. You can also do age-appropriate jigsaw puzzles which varying levels of complexity in design, size, and umber of pieces.