02 May 2019

Tips and tricks to surviving the school-holiday slump

There is a phrase that sparks fear in the hearts of parents everywhere: two more weeks of school holidays. Because, yes, you love your children and having more time with them is obviously magical – but it’s also exhausting. Towards the end of school holidays, moods are swinging, patience is wearing thin, and siblings are ready to tear each other’s hair out. Don’t panic. School will start again soon. In the meantime, here are ways to keep your house from becoming anarchy.

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Space it out

Don’t get beginner’s enthusiasm and do all your activities in week one. You’ll burn out. Pick a few big activities and space them out over the weeks. That way, you’ll already have a few days ticked off the list already – and your little ones will have loads to look forward to.

Budget

If you’re not careful, all those baby-chinos are going to add up and you’ll be out of pocket soon. This is a good time to teach the kids about budgeting, so set aside a budget for each of them and ask them to help suggest activities that fit with that. Teach them that if there is no money for it, it can’t be done. And gift each of them a special money box, letting them know they can earn more by doing chores.

Schedule play dates

All parents are feeling the same right now – so help each other out by swapping play dates. You’ll get some time out while they are with their friends, and you can help another mom when she needs it. Stick to a max of three hours though; no one like to overstay a welcome.

Crafts and more crafts!

Make sure your house is stock full of arts, crafts, and sporting goodies. But don’t bring them out all at once! Gently bring out new science experiments, paint, water buckets, drawing utensils and other goodies as the days go on… And remember, they don’t have to be fancy. A cardboard box can provide hours of fun if you fill it with confetti!

Alone time

Introduce your kids to the idea of alone time. Each day, schedule an hour (or so) where everyone goes to a different room to spend time alone. They can watch a show, read a book, have a nap or just play with their toys. But it’s good to get off each other’s backs for a bit a learn about being alone.

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Be bored

It sounds harsh, but it’s also okay for children to be bored – and learn to cope. We have to face boredom a lot in life. Don’t always try to entertain them. Let them work out how to feel better – or to sit in their boredom for a bit.

Community centres

Most community centres have loads of activities in the school holidays. Look at your local library or rec centre for sports clinics, art workshops, school holiday programs, and social clubs.

Pack it up

It’s also a great idea to use the school holidays to do some house organizing, and letting your kids help. Get out the big plastic boxes to pack away last season’s clothes, reorganise the pantry, or put away all the art work from the last term.

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