What do you do with the children in the holidays? Are you a planner with everything scheduled or do you prefer the “free-range” approach? I love hearing the stories folks tell me about what works for them. Like a group of parents I met a couple of years ago who told me about the time that they wanted to meet the neighbours and so they came up with a creative way to do it. They decided to hold a scone bake-off in the weekend on the school holidays, everyone was invited. The judges were kids wearing coats and carrying clipboards. It was taken pretty seriously – rosettes were even awarded for the winners. And it was so much fun that it turned into a yearly tradition. If you’re looking for a way to get to know the community this idea sounds hard to beat.
Here’s my take on a few quick ideas to help your “time off” flow more smoothly. The focus is all about setting up for success – rather than reacting when things aren’t working.
Involve the children. Get them to make a list of 3 things to do. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, if money is involved, set a limit you are comfortable with. Hold a “family meeting” (with a hot chocolate you were already going to have).It’s a good way to get some ideas flowing. Most families have at least one child who is the type to write the ideas down. The list can be helpful. Point it out later, especially when folks are bored.
- Prompt with one of these topics to get started:
- Things to do on your own – read, puzzles, art, LEGO, listen to music or talking books.
- Things to do with friends/siblings/cousins –board/card games, trains, cars, LEGO, dolls, singing, dancing, hide and seek.
- Things to do with an adult – games, art, sewing, craft, cooking (there are always carrots to peel).
- Things to do outside – walks in nature? Visit the library – try one they haven’t been to before. Get on a bus and go to the end of the bus route.
Aim to go out early – in that tiny window when it’s possible to leave the house – without kids being hungry, or already absorbed in doing something else. It’s so easy to grow roots and cabin fever can set in. If you’re staying at home, pace yourself. A decent amount of mess and and disorganisation is a pretty good sign that kids are shining.
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