Lets just start this post by being ‘real’ and ‘honest’, I do lose my patience, shout and throw the odd meltdown moment in our house. I’m only human, and we don’t live in a happy Instagram life all of the time! Our kids do get crabby, tired, argumentative and sometimes bored in the holidays.
So with several school holidays worth of experience here are some key ways I find that do make the holidays run smoother. I find that everyone ticks along better if I note down or make a strong mental note to myself of ways and means of keeping us all on track so everything flows better for me and then in turn everyone else. So here are my top tips to keep calm and carry on parenting!
- Make lists – There can be a lot going on and my mind can get easily distracted by the demands of our brood. So quick daily lists of meals, to do lists and activity ideas are always helpful.
- Get up early and be first downstairs. Not always do I want to leave my bed early in the holidays but for days where you feel like you need an upper hand then do it, for your own sanity. Get downstairs and get ahead of the game, its amazing what you can do with even just 15 minutes to yourself. Get the washing on, breakfast all sorted and the house tidy, whatever you need to do to help get sorted.
- Take 5 – In fact take a few 5s, it’s your holiday as well if you’re off work or a stay at home Mum. For me, a quiet coffee outside listening to the birds or chatting to a friend is my go-to self care 5 minutes.
- Keep a simple routine going. For us a simple routine consists of some boundaries still in place for the kids such as their normal chores of making beds, emptying the dishwasher etc..
- Don’t let the whole street into your house everyday! I have been there, you want to be the Mum who lets them all play at home with their friends. Yes this is good but don’t get sucked into being the permanent fun house with the kids in your street. You will be the one that gets the mess to clear up and you could easily turn into fun police. I much prefer having a rule of they play in the garden or out the front of our house, especially with good weather.
- Company – plan get-togethers with other adult company; play dates that are a good match provide you with sanity and another pair of hands. I have a friend with whom we take it in turns to host and the kids are such a good match it makes for a pleasant day all round.
- Clubs and Holiday Camps – a godsend for when you need to work but also to keep tweens and teens active, socialising and entertained. Leaving you to work, give you some peace or to focus some time on younger siblings.
- Balance – I like a mix of planned out days and also free days that we just go with the flow and see what happens. Too many planned activities leads to a tired household and too many at home unstructured days can lead to bored fall outs. Whatever your happy balance of days out versus days in, try and recognise what is needed.
- Don’t let them stay up later every night- They need to have some normal bedtime routine days and so do I! It’s hard in the holidays if you feel like you and your partner don’t get more than an hour alone before flopping straight into bed like frazzled fraggles!
- Number 9 leads me to this one; try and get a holiday for yourselves and ask a family member, friend or sitter to have the children for a few hours, day or days so you can spend some quality quieter time with each other to recharge your parenting patience. This one we haven’t always been able to do, but when we do get the odd hour to escape for a date lunch or coffee date it’s really benefited us all. After all it’s good for the kids to have a fresh face around as well.
- Finally all that’s left to say is, I hope your children enjoy their summer break and that you come out the other side calmly and not quite so frazzled fraggle like!