parent opinion

The genius way to keep your kids entertained without leaving the house.

The last time I had annual leave, we celebrated the first day by doing something I’ve never, ever done in my life: not leave the house for 24 hours.

Now, I’ve experienced the joy of holidaying without the kids – but this was almost as good.

It was so rejuvenating. To have just one day when we didn’t have to be anywhere. Where we allowed ourselves to binge Netflix for hours, not shower until after lunch, order Uber Eats for three meals… it was one of the best ‘holidays’ I’ve ever had.

I resolved that the next time I had leave, at least some of it would be used as a ‘home staycation’.

Because any parent who’s taken their kid on holiday can relate to this: at times, no matter how far away from home you are, how amazing the place, and how much bloody money you’ve spent to get there, there will be a point when you think:

Same kids, different place.

Whereas with a staycation, there’s no travel. There’s no expense. And there’s absolutely no obligation of having to be anywhere, at any time. And that eliminates most of the exhaustion and stress.

But, I hear you ask, won’t the kids go nuts being at home all the time?

Not if you really embrace my suggestions. I’ve put together a list of some of the things we did on our 24-hour staycation, and some of the things we plan to do on the next one.

But.

Before you can even contemplate a staycation, there’s ONE THING YOU MUST DO FIRST.

My kid 'waxing' my eyebrow at his 'spa'. Source: Supplied.
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You can't nail a staycation with the kids if you maintain your standards.

You need to give yourself a break from being a mum - even if just for 24 hours - for a staycation to be a success. Otherwise you won't be able to do any of the home holidaying properly.

You have to let yourself have a vacay mentality, even if you don't go past your driveway. All the things we nag our kids about - brushing teeth, bed time, eating more of their dinner, screen time - just give it a rest for a day at least. You will feel so liberated... and literally no one will die.

The first rule of a staycation is that there. Are. No. Rules.

Ok, so once you're prepared let it go, as Elsa would say, how do you staycation without leaving the house? Here are my ideas:

  1. Eating - location: picnic on the floor, eat on the couch, eat in bed, and eff the mess.
  2. Eating - diet: take away and Uber Eats without guilt. Cook something nutritionally void and concentrate on the fun of the process, not how it might turn out.
  3. Sleeping - camp out in a blanket fort in the lounge. Go to bed late, wake up early. Whatever you do, don't watch the clock.
  4. Device - binge, or hide them. Or do equal parts of both. Move the TV into the bedroom. The only caveat is to not feel bad.
  5. Declare 'happy hour' at 5pm every day where everyone gets a turn at making drinks for the fam.
  6. Team sports: find all the Nerf guns and shoot each other. Pull out all the old things like ring toss and your bocci set and see who can get the lowest score.
  7. Water activities: swim in the bath - 0r run through the sprinkler.
  8. Forgotten toys: pull out all the old sets - Lego, Play-Doh, anything else - and re-discover them through making up ridiculous stories together.
  9. Set up a massage shop where the kids can walk on your back - they LOVE doing it.
  10. Theme days: on Wednesdays you can wear pink. Do Taco Tuesdays.
  11. Fight Club: this is one of our favourite activities, which we usually do on Fridays. (Friday night Fight Club.)
  12. Make matching staycation t-shirts.
  13. Make a family vacay video.

And if you need some "Me Time" after all this engagement? That's when you declare a game of Hide and Seek.

Enjoy.

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