As explained in a previous post I am not one of those awesome parents who get super excited by the school holidays. I LOVE that I don’t have to make a gazillion lunchboxes and I love that I don’t have to rush around making breakfasts, finding socks and homework, and trying to get four kids out the door by 8am. The downside is that they can drive me absolutely stir crazy!! I have learnt through trial and error that the best way to survive the school holidays is to loosely stick to the following basic rules:
- Have a plan and be a little organised. Arrrggghhh, my 20 year old self would be horrified to hear me say that, meanwhile my super organised older sister is probably sitting there reading this and nodding smugly to herself. OK I admit it, there is merit in planning ahead so jump on the band wagon and develop a super school holiday program for your family. I often check out the local library, the local shire website, PCYC’s and leisure centres for their school holiday activities as they are often reasonably priced and sometimes even free.
- Start with 1 or 2 big ticket items and plan your schedule around that. For our family that usually involves a camping trip somewhere or a day trip and entry to a special Museum/Exhibition/Carnival or Show.
- Plan to completely exhaust them every couple of days. Trust me on this, you want them so tired that they don’t have the energy to talk back, whinge, or fight with each other and they are also more than happy to stay at home and vegetate the next day. This is where I get them outside and make the most of local bike and walking trails, beaches, swimming holes and National Parks.
- Even if you are only having a quiet day at home, spin it for all its worth. For example if you want to hang out in your pyjamas til lunchtime and put a movie on hoping to keep the kids distracted so you can enjoy a coffee in peace, then this is what I would tell the kids when they ask what we are doing today: “Well you lucky kids, we are going to have a Pyjama Party. How bout we set up a theatre room in the twins room, you can choose two movies, I will get some awesome movie food ready (read usual morning tea put on fancy plates and add microwave popcorn) and we can enjoy a quiet day!!” And that, people, is how it is done.
- Invite others to get involved in your plans. It turns a simple afternoon at the park into an awesome playdate, with minimal effort, no cost, and no fuss. It may just save someone else’s sanity over the holiday period and with my hubby still doing FIFO a little bit of adult company goes a long way!!
With those tips in mind this is how my school holiday program turned out…..
So there you have it, a guide to surviving the holidays especially important when you have four kids, a husband that works away, and no family for 5000km.
I would love to hear any other great suggestions for surviving the holidays with kids. Let me know in the comments below!