There are plenty of parents who dread the summer holidays — and with at least six weeks of entertaining children on the horizon, who could blame them?
But while I certainly experience my share of trepidation at the thought of keeping my tribe amused for long periods of time, for the most part, I look forward to the break in routine – and for the chance to spend some quality time with my eldest two.
However, successful achievement of such an ambitious goal depends on two factors – sunshine and the ability to access the outdoors.
Because let’s face it, despite the best of intentions, indoor activities usually end in tears – sometimes theirs, other times mine.
Craft usually means five minutes of fun, five hours of mess; Lego leads to injury or tantrums when masterpieces crumble; DVDs equal fights over what to watch and the final choice is most often scratched anyway, and most other games eventually result in something getting broken.
Cabin fever ultimately sets in, leaving everybody at each other’s throats and no mum enjoys the sure-fire guilt derived from having to spend another day of the school holidays telling everybody off.
Step outside into the summer sun though and things take a different turn – energies lift, smiles grow and fun naturally takes over. For everyone. Age creates no barrier.
And it’s not just about watching the kids have fun either, it’s all about joining in, being a part of the action and sharing some time together.
Water-balloon fights, sprinkler runs, beach cricket, bug catching, family swims, bike riding – hours disappear without a trace.
And while indoor activities can be costly – hell, a trip to the movies will set you back close to $100 – enjoying Australia’s summer requires little more than a tube of sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat.
With three kids ranging in age from two to almost seven, focusing on outdoor activities during the holidays allows me to keep everybody happy and engaging with each other, as well as with me.
We usually spend hours having scooter races around the veranda, floating competitions in the pool, pushing each other on the swings, walks around the neighbourhood – even lunch becomes a fun activity, transforming into a summer picnic just by throwing a rug down and heading outside.
Not to mention free fun like local parks or trips to the beach.
So, rather than counting down the minutes to bedtime and the days until school starts again, I am able to be the “fun mum”, instead of “nagging mum”, “angry mum”, or my personal favourite, “crazy mum” – for the most part anyway!
Now, how many days until the Easter holidays…
What do you do with the kids during the school holidays?
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