The school holidays can sometimes seem almost like a long prison sentence stretching out in front of you. For some parents they may really enjoy every moment that they have with their children but for others they may worry about what they will do with their children for all of that time. Trying to cope with ‘I’m bored’ or trying to prize them off their electronics can also be a big stressor for parents. However, there are things that you can try so that it can be a good experience for all of you.
Plan daily activities
It is worth planning an activity to do together each day. It can be wise to make sure that the children do not go on their screens, whether that is computer, television, mobile device or games consoles until this activity is completed. This might be that they have to read something each morning, go out for a walk, do some writing, drawing or play a game with you. There are lots of possibilities and it does not have to be the same things each day. However, plan it the day before with your children so that they are aware of what the rules are. Otherwise, once they get involved with their screens it can take a big argument to get them off again. For some days you may want to go out all day, perhaps to local attractions or a bit further afield so that you can get them out of the house, learn something new and just do something different.
Get away together
Getting away as a family can be a really good way to get away from it all and enjoy each other. Being away from home and the stresses that it brings can really make a difference. You will also have different things to do which can help to bring you together as a family. Obviously this can be expensive but it might be possible to do something cheap, such as a house swap or you might be able to go on some day trips or stay with family or friends so that you can still have some time away from home.
Have a screen time limit
Some parents worry about the amount of screen time their children have. There are differing opinions about this and parents that grew up watching a lot of television or playing on computers themselves may be more open minded about their children doing it than those that grew up without much computer or television use. If you are concerned then you can set a time limit. It can be wise to keep them off electronics before bed as research has shown that it can be detrimental to sleep. Some recommendations say you should not use them for two hours before bed, but others as little as half an hour, so it is up to you to choose what you feel is appropriate.
Do household chores together
It is really important for children to know how to do household chores and doing them together can be a good way to keep them entertained and show them something useful. It is possible to make all chores fun and the younger you start doing them with them the better. If they do not learn how to do these jobs, then they will not be able to do them for themselves when they get older and they may also just expect someone else to do it for them. Start with making their bed and tidying their room as well as putting their clean washing away and their dirty washing in the laundry basket. Then you can move on to showing them how to use the washing machine and wash up or stack the dishwasher. Get them helping with shopping, cooking and cleaning as well. Once they know how to do these things they will start to get better and quicker at them and will eventually save you time, although jobs will take longer to start with.
Try some money making activities
If they are interested in money then they might like to do some activities which will earn them some extra. If you do not want them working for anyone else, then you could pay them to do work for you such as chores in the home or garden or by washing the car. However, they could earn money for other places as well. They could look for coins on the ground or see if friends or relatives have any jobs that they could do to earn some money. They could also buy and sell things to make money. Although you may have to be in charge of what they are doing, they could sell things they no longer want online or buy things to sell on. If they are working online, they may have to be 18 to use some of the websites, but you could do this for them. They could also sell things offline, perhaps by making things and selling to relatives, or renting a market stall to sell.
Have plenty of play dates
If there is a big chance that they will get bored or that you will need a break from each other then set up play dates with their friends. If they are at primary school then you will need to gather contact details and get in touch with parents to organise them. If they are at secondary school then it will be up to them to contact their friends and organise times for them to get together, but you can certainly remind them to exchange emails or phone numbers with them before the holidays.
Visit friends and family
Visiting friends and family can be a great way to get away from home and find something different to do. It will allow you to be able to get some adult company and have a bit of a break. If you go somewhere where there are other children it will give your children others to play with as well, which should help them.