Summer term is over and the six weeks holidays have arrived! The children are high on excitement with all their new-found freedom while mum is wondering how she will preserve her sanity (and her wallet) for the next 42 days...
In the height of an ever glooming recession, the school summer holidays are dreaded by most, not only do us mothers have to find a thousand things to keep our children’s inquisitive young minds busy, but also, ways to fund their ever-growing demands. Every aspect of your day is now disrupted with the words "can I have" and "I want" and attached is a hefty price tag. Your once easy (and cheap) trip to the local shop for your morning paper and coffee fix, has now turned in to a battle of sugars and E-numbers as children fight to get the suddenly new array of sweets now on display. You try calmly telling your child a firm “no” but soon give in to save yourself the embarrassment of your child throwing himself to floor and raging like depraved tiger.
So what do we do? Just give in to what ever our children want despite the consequences to our pocket in order to save face and keep them happy? Or do we find a way to enhance their minds without the need to spend what we should be saving for Christmas (I know...Don't even mention the c word! )
This is my third summer holiday as a mother and I have found a few tricks over the years that I shall keep practicing until the children are old enough to earn their own money to waste...
Routine is key: Although the prospect of some much needed lie ins seems too good an opportunity to pass, it rarely happens with young children in the house; so I find it best to keep to a similar routine as what you would on a school day. Wake at a certain time, breakfast, wash, change and brush teeth. This keeps children busy for at least two hours and you get to stimulate their minds and independence by allowing them to choose their own clothes. You can make this part fun, by asking the children what the weather is like out side and turn into a game of who can pick the best outfit for this type of weather. Maybe create a sticker chart to tally points with other activities you do aswell.
That’s the first part of the morning sorted, so what do you do for the rest of the day? Well, believe it or not, not everything costs money and you probable have plenty of things you could do in around the home that will keep the children busy for hours. For example, children love playing out side so get them kitted out in their play clothes and go on a bug hunt. Take a pen and paper and write down all the different bugs you can find and write some interesting facts about them. Or what about getting them to pull out all the perennials you have neglected, maybe you could also make a vegetable patch to start growing some winter vegetables in. There is loads of fun to be had in the garden so get them out there and let their imagination run free in the fresh air.
So what about rainy days? When it comes to days when you have no other option but to stay inside, finding things to do can become a little tricky. But no need to fret, there are many things you an do on rainy days if you just use a little imagination and make things work for you. What about putting on a show? Children love to dress up and most also love to sing…So why not set an Xfactor style challenge? Tell the children to get dressed up as their favourite singers and prepare a song for you? Give them some old pots and pans and they could even make a band…yes it might get a little noisy but you will have loads of laughs watching your children doing a crazy Cheryl Cole impression or trying to be the next Justin beiber; get the video camera out and create some memories.
If this isn’t your thing, then everyone has some art materials lurking somewhere in the house, get them out and let the children get creative, children love making things and getting messy so break out the paints, revive the glue and get busy!
No matter what you do during the holidays, remember one thing; no matter how stressful it can get or how grey your hair is suddenly turning, there is nothing better than spending some quality time with your children, and time with mummy to a child, is priceless.