The start of school holidays brings a level of delight only eclipsed by Christmas and birthdays. The prospect of six weeks of freedom is enough to have my kids bouncing with excitement from the start of July. I, on the other hand, approach them with a little more apprehension, as I know that after the novelty of unstructured days wears off, boredom sets in.
Home working means I don’t have to stress over holiday childcare every single day, but it does mean that I get VERY stressed about keeping my kids occupied so that I do what I need to.
I would totally fall apart if I didn’t have a plan – not only school holiday activities, but my own work schedule. I have learned that during school holidays, I am most productive working first thing in the morning, when the kids are either asleep or even enjoying their screen time (* Bad mum*, or after they are in bed.
I also plan a handful of activities in advance, such as buying tickets for an attraction or show (discount sites like Groupon usually have really good deals from May onwards), investigating events that are on in the area, and looking for interesting places to take the kids when we are at a loose end, such as a park we have never been to before.
Trading play dates is a lifesaver. While they are out, I can power through my list of errands, and my kids having their friends over means I can get on with things around the house I need to do.
Though, it doesn’t always go to plan of course….* cough*
It also lets me spend individual time with each child – something that can be rare when they are both at home all the time.
Keep a schedule
Apart from the first few days, when I let them unwind the way they want, we keep to a loose schedule. I have learned that my kids are happier and better behaved when they have the structure of a routine in their day. While there is some flexibility, they know that they need to be up and dressed by a reasonable time, do their normal chores, and go to bed when we say so.
This is an idea I was sceptical about when I saw it on Pinterest, but was pleasantly surprised when I saw how well it worked. It couldn’t be easier: simply write activities on pieces of paper, both fun things and chores, fold them up, and put them in a jar (or in our case, an old ice cream container they decorated). Every time they say “I’m bored!” they choose a piece of paper and do whatever the activity is. Our slips include washing the car, getting out the paddling pool, and making a cake. Though the last one was added under duress….
There are some wonderful ideas for boredom jars and activities available online – so why not make your own?
Let them be bored
Don’t fall into the trap of making every day full and magical though.
Boredom is good for kids. It encourages them to think creatively, fosters an appreciation for the activities you do plan, and helps them develop independence.
For more ways to beat the summer holiday boredom blues check out these 33 fun summer activities.