publication date: Jul 28, 2008
author/source: Anne Coates
- Childcare – if your children are spending part of the holidays in formal childcare and therefore have to be up early in the mornings, let them chill out more at the weekends. Make evenings more fun with picnics in the park or dressing up for dinner so that they become completely different from the usual school evenings.
- Give teens a set amount of money each week so they can budget and decide which activities they want to do. It’s amazing how having to pay concentrates their minds. They may have to choose between the cinema and bowling one week and be encouraged to find free activities.
- Share care – teem up with other mums to share an outing together or take someone else’s children for a day so you get some free time later. Accept offers of help from family members like grandparents who may like to have the children stay over for a day or so
- Make the most of local amenities - parks are great for wilder games, picnics, duck-feeding and whatever else is on offer. Go with other families and play traditional games like rounders and cricket. A local museum or library may be running special summer activities.
- Allow the kids to be creative – and play on their own. Don’t think you’ve got to be organising their every moment but have plenty of craft materials – boxes, cartons, paper and paints etc - so they can be inventive. Always supervise paddling pools and have towels etc ready so you don’t have to leave children untended.
- Plan each week’s activities but be flexible. Have an alternative up your sleeve if your planned activity is weather dependant. However a walk in the park in the rain can be just as entertaining - puddles are always an attraction – if you are suitably dressed or don’t mind getting wet!
- Join in the fun – water fights, face painting whatever – find your inner child and delight your kids. Be unpredictable and keep them guessing what you’ll get up to next!
- Find a focus - have one goal for each child so that by the end of the holidays he or she can ride a bike/swim a length/skip/sew on a button/knit.
- Let them help – encourage your kids to learn everyday things you do about the house. Older children could learn to cook a meal, younger ones ice cakes or make biscuits.
- Have a theme for a dressing up day/play etc and visit a local charity shop to see what they can find to wear and adapt – have a limit on what each child can spend – they may even learn to haggle over prices!
Check the Parenting Without Tears events calendar for what’s on in your area.