Surviving School Holidays

Plan ahead to save your sanity

School holidays can be a time that parents dread. The first few days may be fine, but then you quickly run out of patience and ideas while the kids become increasingly restless, cranky, and bored.

Covid Lockdowns don’t help the situation, and working from home can add to the challenge as well.

Kids still need the predictability of routines, but that doesn’t mean you have to fill up their day with lots of excursions and activities that can be expensive and end up exhausting the kids

Try these tips for managing school holidays

Get the kids to tell you what they want to do

Often parents think they have to come up with all the ideas to keep kids entertained during holidays. Turn that around and get the kids to come up with the ideas.

Get them to write on sticky notes all the things they would like to do, and keep all the sticky notes visible on a notice board or a wall. They might surprise you with what they come up with.

Write up a weekly calendar on a big whiteboard or use the fridge door as a white board.

Each evening, plan the next day with the kids. Get them to choose an activity from their sticky notes and put it on the calendar.

Looking for ideas? Check out these sites for ideas https://www.northshoremums.com.au/fun-home-activities-with-kids/

Get the kids outside

Even in Lockdown, you can still get outside. You and your family can have an hour of outdoor exercise within a 5km radius of your home. Even if playgrounds are closed, you can get the kids to ride their bike or go on a scavenger hunt.

Here’s a great link from Eco Explorers with free downloadable resources. My favourite is the free Australian Scavenger hunt by Kate Rija.

Keep your daily routines 

One of the reasons why kids can get ratty towards the end of holidays is that they are tired. Often parents will let their kids stay up later because they don’t have to rush off to school the next morning. But late nights can end up snowballing, and by the second week, the tiredness catches up with them and you end up with grumpy kids.

Keep bed time and meal time routines the same, that way, your kids are getting the rest and breaks they need.

Plan your time if you’re working from home 

Plan your work times in the same way you plan the kids activities on your weekly calendar. If you can, break up your day to times you are working and times you can spend with the kids. Put those times clearly on the whiteboard calendar so kids will know the start and finish times when you are working.

If you can’t break up your day, and you are not restricted by Covid lockdowns, arrange for child care, either with friends and family or child care centres that organise school holiday programs. You will get more done being able to concentrate while the kids are away.

Plan for down time

Plan for down time in each day on your calendar. Kids can get overtired if you fill up their whole day with activities. Mid afternoon between 2pm and 4pm is often a time when kids start to fade, so plan down time for then.

Screen time has its place. Zoning out can be good to clear the mind, and it gives you a break as well. Set specific times in the afternoon for screen time to start and finish, and put on the whiteboard calendar. Screen time can include time when everyone watches a movie together.

Time away from the screen also rests the brain, so you can use down time to read stories. If your kids find it hard to settle, then plan outside time as down time.

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Anne Dobson Effective Behaviour Management

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Published On: June 28th, 2021 / Categories: For Parents /