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For working parents, the school holidays are a total and complete nightmare, as they can become seriously expensive. A lot of parents choose to save up their annual leave and use it to cover the summer holidays, taking up to a month off of work at once. Even then, spending such a large chunk of time with your kids constantly can prove stressful, especially if you can’t afford to be taking them out to do things every single day.
All parents know the struggle that comes with the summer holidays – managing your time can be a complete nightmare. There is good news though, just because the summer holidays can be seriously stressful, that doesn’t mean that they have to be. If you are smart about it and plan in advance, then you can ensure that when it comes to the school holidays that they are as free from stress as possible.
To help make sure that this year’s school holidays are as enjoyable as possible for you and your children, below are some tips to consider taking note of.
Find local holiday activities
The good news is that most areas offer a range of holiday activities for kids of all ages, so it could be worth taking the time to look into these, to determine whether there are some suitable options for your kids.
Most areas have sports facilities that offer a range of sports-themed camps, such as football, basketball, gym, and swimming camps for kids. If you want to get your kids booked into one of these, it’s important to book early as the spaces fill up fast because they’re usually a more affordable option.
There also tend to be a range of arts and craft-based holiday activities on offer. If you’re not sure what’s available in your local area, it could be worth Googling it or posting on your local Facebook selling site, to see if anyone can recommend some good craft-based activities in your local area for keeping kids busy in the school holidays.
There are so many different options when it comes to local activities for kids outside of school; it’s just a case of taking the time to find the ones that are the best fit for you and your little ones. You may even find some local summer camps that offer a day camp option where you can drop your kids off in the mornings and pick them up each evening.
Consider summer camps
If day camps aren’t a suitable option, perhaps you could look into sending your children to summer camps for during the school holidays. While some summer camps last for weeks and take up most of the holidays, there are other ones that only last for a week or two. If you don’t want your kids to be away all summer, perhaps you could send them on summer camps that only last for a short period.
The great thing about summer camps is that there are so many different options to choose from. Whether your children love sport, are mad about craft, or like to sing or make music, there’s a summer camp that’s perfect for them. There are, of course, also a range of general summer camps that offer a wide selection of different activities, from horse riding and swimming to cooking and crafting. There are plenty of options to choose from; it’s just a case of finding the one that’s the right fit for you and your children.
Source suitable babysitters
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where you have plenty of friends and family member around, perhaps you could spend some time sourcing babysitters. While you don’t want to force anyone to agree to look after your little ones without wanting to, the chances are that if you’ve got friends and family nearby, they’ll want to help out.
Do yours’ or your partner’s parents live nearby? If so, could they be willing to offer you some childcare during the school holidays? Maybe a couple of days a week? Or, do your siblings live nearby and might want to take care of their nieces and nephews one day a week? Or maybe you have a friend that also has kids; perhaps you could share childcare – two days a week she has your kids and then two days a week you have her kids.
If you don’t have the funds to pay for babysitters, you need to get a little creative. If one of your children is over 13-years-old and is responsible, then perhaps you could leave them in charge of their younger siblings? Or, maybe you have an older niece or nephew who might like to earn a small amount of pocket money for babysitting? Older family members can make great babysitters, so it’s always worth asking.
Make your home more fun
For those days where you and your children are stuck at home with nothing to do, it’s important that your home is a fun place to be. Boredom is the number one reason why kids argue with each other and become whiny and difficult, so it’s important to ensure that your kids can’t be bored at home, by creating a space that has lots to keep them occupied.
Now, you might not be a fan of TV but for the school holiday TV services like Optimum, can be life-saving. By updating your TV package to include a wider range of channels and services, including access to Netflix, you can ensure that your kids have plenty to keep them occupied when stuck at home. Too much TV isn’t good for kids, but a little bit every so often is perfectly fine.
Another way that you could make your home more fun and appealing is to update your garden. If your outdoor space lacks fun activities that your kids will love, change that. Buy a swingball, get a football goal, put up a treehouse – find ways to make your outdoor space more fun. If you can encourage your kids to spend more time outside, make sure to do so.
Get sports equipment for your kids to enjoy more exercise outside. Items like backyard portable soccer goals encourage children to enjoy playing while being physically active.
Make a list of all the things that you can do locally
If you haven’t already, now is the time to make a list of all the things that you can do locally over the school holidays. Take the time to research what attractions are available locally and make a list, noting down the price of each option as well. That way, you can then group them into different price ranges, from cheap to expensive, and can choose the one that’s the most affordable at the time.
As well as noting down theme parks and amusement arcades, get creative. Think about local parks, nature walks, old buildings, beaches – be creative and see what you can come up with when it comes to local attractions.
Something that you should try is geocaching. This comes with a one-time fee for downloading the app and is then free to use. Geocaching is like one large treasure hunt that can be done across the country, and wider world too. You use the app to direct you to a geocache – aka a small box with a selection of items inside – you then add your name to the paper inside, and you can take one of the ‘treasures’ inside if you replace it with something else. This is a great activity for encouraging kids to be more active, as it’s a great way of making walking fun.
Organize themed days at home
If you have to have a day or two at home, make them fun by adding a theme. In advance, tell your kids what the theme will be so that they can get excited about it. Themed days can be a simple yet effective way to make days stuck at home more bearable for everyone.
Get creative and come up with ideas. One option could be having an Italian day where you make homemade pizzas or pasta and ice cream for dessert. Another option could be a movie day where you make a den in the living room, make popcorn, and spend the day in your PJs watching movies. You could have a board games tournament day, where you play board games all day and see who is crowned the overall winner. There are so many options to choose from; it’s just a case of getting creative and coming up with some fun ideas that are easy to do and will excite your kids.
The school holidays can be tough for parents, but they don’t have to be a nightmare. If you’re smart about things, plan in advance, and are willing to get creative, you can reduce the stress that comes with having your kids home from school for weeks on end.