For some time now, I have been making preparations for the school summer holidays. This break is particularly significant as our youngest daughter, Izzy, will be starting school in September.
I therefore want the next six weeks of the summer holidays to be fun-packed and enjoyable for Izzy, her older sister Helen and for Mrs Adams and I. As the stay at home parent, the responsibility for ensuring this happens will mostly fall on me.
With Helen, our eight-year-old, having been at school for several years now, I have picked up a few tricks along the way. I thought I would share with you a few of my hints and tips for making the summer break go smoothly.
Embrace the mess and learn to live with it
With children at home 24/7, the house will be messier than usual. Just accept there will be more mess and domestic chaos throughout August and early September and you will have an easier life.
When Helen had her first six-week summer break, I spent my entire time trying to clear up after her. Life became so much more enjoyable when I simply gave up!
Keep following some kind of routine
In my experience, this will help children settle back into school at the other end of the summer holidays. It may simply be that you do five or ten minutes of spellings or times tables each day. Dedicating just a few minutes to structured activities will make life much easier for you when the kids return to school.
Manage screen time
Screen time is going to increase over the summer break. Rather like having a messy house, accept this fact and life will be considerably easier!
Rainy days, illness and an unexpected increase in mum and dad’s workload can result in the TV being switched on. Even so, the kids don’t have to watch trashy cartoons, rammed full of commercials. Inspiring classic films such as the BFG, the Harry Potter series and the old Superman movies can all be found on streaming services like Amazon Prime and Google Play. These are usually commercial free so the added-bonus is that your kids won’t pester you to buy tat they’ve seen advertised.
Take out annual membership of your favourite attractions
Visitor attractions can be incredibly expensive. Paying as much as £10 to £15 a head per visit isn’t unheard of, even for children.
Annual, family membership providing unlimited access to these attractions can often be purchased for around £100 – £150. It may seem like a lot to spend in one go but it and gives you options for all year round – but key for summer is it gets the kids out the house so helps keep the house that bit tidier!
Take it easy and let standards slip a little
After a full academic year, school children are tired and need a break. Mum and dad are also often drained after nine months of school runs and ferrying kids to after school clubs. If kids want to lie in and no one in the household has showered or dressed before one pm, so what?
For the final couple of weeks, you might want to ease back into a regular bed time so it doesn’t come as a shock when school starts again. Until that point, you should take it easy, go with the flow and relax. On more than one occasion my kids’ ‘bath’ has been in the paddling pool. Who cares? They’re having fun!
It’s all about the sun tan….and the mess
For me, the sign of a successful school summer break is a good sun tan because it shows lots of time has been spent outside. Hopefully you will have created some new, happy memories. You should also have a messy home and an unkempt garden. After the six-week school break, a tidy home is a sign you’re piled your energies into the wrong activities!
I made a video with the kids, plus a special guest star, with our hints and tips for making the school holidays run smoothly. Watch it by clicking on play here:
What about you?
What hints and tips do you have for making the school summer break run smoothly? Please leave a comment below with your ideas. I’d love to hear them. It’s a demanding time and us mums and dads could learn a lot from each other.
Whatever you get up to over the next few weeks, I hope you have lots of fun!