This is not my kitchen...but I wish it was! How do you manage your kitchen?…
The summer holidays are in sight. That’s good, but it can also feel a bit daunting. Maybe you’ll be having to juggle work and childcare, with a week or two away. Finances are tight and, for some of us, it’s not as easy just to grab our suitcases and drive or fly to sunnier climates. We always want to have the BEST summer holidays, but let’s be realistic here, no summer is going to be magical ALL the time.
Here are 5 ways to help you to boss the summer holidays like a pro so, with a little bit of planning, you can stay calm and enjoy the happy chaos of the summer holidays.
As Heidi, mum of two says, “A good time doesn’t have to cost a lot of money – there are plenty of free or low-cost things to do.”
1 Make a list and involve the kids
Grab a big sheet of paper and some coloured pens, and brainstorm possible summer activities with your children. Make 4 headings – Home, Free, Low cost, Expensive and ask them what they’d like to do. Plan different types of days at home and days out. Stick it on the fridge door and cross off activities as you do them, like a summer bucket list. Here are some ideas:
- HOME – have a PJ day; plan a ‘sleep in the sitting room’ night; do some baking; ice digestive biscuits; try junk modelling; have a ‘carpet’ picnic; plan a film day and eat popcorn; paint on the patio using water; draw on the pavement with chalk; invite friends over; camp in the garden; fill the toybox with water (raid the kitchen for jugs and plastic cups!) create a camp in the sitting room; have a pillow fight; paint each other’s faces; draw up a family tree; do some origami. For more at home activities, check out Red Kite Days.
- FREE – think about new parks you could visit; grab a map and identify walks you could explore; check out local museums; watch the sunrise; fly a kite; make clay pots; try stargazing (with blankets and hot chocolate!) go to the library; film a movie; paddle in the river; take pictures and make a scrapbook. For free things to do with kids in Oxfordshire and Berkshire check out Red Kite Days.
- LOW COST – go out for a milkshake or an ice cream; set a budget and hit the charity shops; go swimming; have a BBQ; Pick Your Own; plan a boat trip; go canoeing; drive to the beach.
- EXPENSIVE – Zoo; Theme Park; day in London; take a train trip.
Claire, owner of Red Kite Days and mum of 3 says “Plan a few big experience days out and then free or low cost activities that you can dip into. Space your big days out through the summer as they can be as exhausting as they are fun!”
2 Consider a rough plan of your days
No blaring alarm clocks, no rushing in the mornings, no after school activities and fewer appointments. It’s nice not to be restricted by a strict schedule during the summer holidays but routines are incredibly important. For some, without the structure of school, it’s easy for life at home to fall apart. Bedtimes extend into the late hours, personal hygiene falls by the wayside and there’s way too much screen time. Knowing what to expect gives kids security and a life-saving schedule can eliminate those power struggles at home, promoting a happier summer break for everyone! Try to continue with an appropriate bedtime routine as children still need their sleep. I also find my children want to fill up on sugary snacks during the day. By maintaining a routine of mealtimes means your child is less likely to indulge in tempting snacks, and promotes the idea that a piece of cake or chocolate bar is a treat and something to be treasured and appreciated.
Andrea, mum of one says, “Try a one day at home / one day out routine.”
3 Be intentional about making time to meet/speak to YOUR friends
The summer holidays should not all be about the kids – if it is, you’re likely to get exhausted! You need to factor in some energy giving and battery charging time for you. Consider when you’re going to exercise. Do you want to have a morning or evening routine for yourself? Get texting your friends. Find out when they’re at home and when they’re away and get a date in the diary to meet or do a Zoom call.Since lockdown, I’ve been speaking to one of my friends every Friday evening. We are strict on the time and speak for 1hr. We both look forward to it each week and will be continuing! Don’t forget to invest in some time with your partner too!
4 Get prepared for your holiday away
Hopefully you will get some time off work and be able to go away for a week or two. Don’t leave all the planning to the last minute. Take some time to work out what each family member needs for the break and check that the kids haven’t outgrown their wetsuits or summer clothes. Check all the paperwork which needs completing. Make sure everyone has a sun hat and that you’ve stocked up on suntan cream….and, if you’re going abroad, that your passports are all in date!
5 Embrace your childhood essence!
Join in with the kids when you can and find your ‘free inner child’! Run around the garden and play sports, kick a ball, get on the trampoline and sit in the paddling pool with them! Stop worrying about what other people think and do whatever makes your children and you smile and laugh. Sometimes you just need to catch yourself being ‘too serious’ and choose to get down to their level and let go of your inhibitions. Dare to be spontaneous and live in the moment, noticing what is right in front of you, rather than looking to the next thing and the next thing. Let your children take the lead and just follow!
Kerrie, mum of three, says, “Best low cost food hack – two thermos flasks. One warm, with hot dog sausages, and one with ice containing ice pops.”
Remember – you don’t have to fill every minute for the children with something fun. It’s okay for them to ‘be bored’ now and then, this is what can get their creative juices flowing and encourage development of their ability to be okay with their own company and be inventive.
Heather, mum of two says, “Everyone needs some down time, so factor that in.”
Have a wonderful break and then it’s back to school!