5 August 2013

Five Ways to Tackle the Summer Holidays.


Image courtesy soapbox.com

We're all knackered before we've hardly begun.  The end is not yet in sight and we really dearly want to enjoy our children, not fear this frazzled time, don't we?

I am no expert, but have put together some ideas that I think help address all this time off together. I only think about them, don't necessarily always practise them and would love your own practical approaches slung right back at me:

1)  Make packed lunches the night before.  It's not that bad with your music playing, a glass of something splendid and in the peace that comes with it being 9pm before you get the chance. If you're super duper organized you can make a start when tea is cooking.  Either way, it will take a quarter of the time it could take in the morning while the children are bored / fighting while you try and get seemingly everything else in the world sorted in order to be able to leave the house.  It reduces the ordeal.

2)  On-line shopping.  I suggest heavy nutrient intake during the day - lots of fruit and salad stuff for snacks and in said packed lunches.  Shove 'em at 'em all you can so you can be lazy in the evening, picking up chips on the way home or bunging a pizza or something else from the freezer in the oven without fretting about them not having had their Five A Day.  This requires stocking up and the combination of supermarkets and Summer Holidays are a melee, not given to provoking the same feelings of virtuosity.  This also gives you more time for 3).

3)  Put them to bed as clean as possible.  You don't have to change their beds so often and lots of bubble bath in the paddling pool isn't out of the question.  Anything that keeps you sane and preserves your energy is acceptable, especially when it's fun.  And the earlier the better (*fantasy*), naturally, because the garden won't water itself and you've got 1) and 4) to be getting on with.

4)  If the weather is truly fine, there's nothing wrong with hanging the washing on the line overnight.  It will still dry and, again, getting out of the house in the morning will be easier - ish, or, instead, if necessary, it will also give you time to prepare something sensible ahead for dinner and get it in the oven with the timer on.  Should you manage this, you can spend all day relaxing / tweeting about having been able to elevate yourself to hero status and we will all applaud.

If the weather is not so fine, tumble dryers really will come into their own, should you actually allow yourself to use them!  Ditto slow cookers.

5)  Don't worry too much about blogging.  We're all stressed stretched and we will feel guilty about not getting around to reading your words of wisdom instantaneously and then, worse, we might perhaps feel obliged or under pressure to write something ourselves.  Unless, of course, you're being paid to write a post, obvs.  Something has got to fund the tea / coffee / cold drinks / ice cream / glasses of something splendid that keep you going.  And we don't mind so much about not getting around to reading those right away!

Do let me know your handy survival suggestions.   Make me feel less of a #badmother and I'll see you on the other side, if not before!

47 comments:

  1. I have gone for "Spongebob" will babysit my child option when I need 20 minutes locked in my room, sobbing at why did I ever want to be a mother to the screaming child downstairs!
    Summer holidays are the worst for making you feel like a bad parent, added with blogging when other mums are making planes out of carboard boxes and I am trying not to let Little Man eat chicken wraps for the 3rd time in a week... ha

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    1. The telly is a marvel and there's nothing wrong with chicken wraps are a great way to disguise a couple of their Five A Day ;)

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  2. Top tips indeed! My other one is to (if you have a plan) put it on the calendar so the children can see it - and make it non-negotiable! Mine miss the routine of school so having a bit of a timetable really helps x

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    1. That's a good tip, thanks Jenny. I live by the calendar, but never thought to share it with the children. *mental note to self* :)

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  3. Ah the joy of older children - they do the sandwiches at lunchtime :O)
    Great tips - trying to sneak in blog time is my saviour mind lol

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    1. Ah the blessing of having younger ones who you give no choice to what they put in the though! Wouldn't have thought I could teach you a thing, mother of four boys! I don't know where the blogging / reading comes in, but it seems to squeeze in somehow :)

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  4. Great tips!!
    I've been making my two a packed lunch each day...Even if we're not going out...They have breakfast then all day can pick and much at whats in their lunchbox...Then they're not asking for snacks all day :)
    hahaha yesterday I put bubble bath in the paddling pool to save them having a bath! A total bad mother moment from me...lol

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    1. That's a fantastic idea and so glad I'm not the only heathen ;)

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  5. Ah bubble bath in the paddling pool! Top idea! And I like the idea of doing the healthy eating before teatime and caving in for the evening.
    I saw another idea - leave out some craft/colouring for them to do in the morning, so you get to wake up slowly while they occupy themselves.
    I couldn't hang my washing out the night before tho - the times I've left it out, I've ended up with families of spiders moving into the pockets and sleeves - ugh!

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    1. oh I like that idea - apart from day 1 of us having said THIRTY POUND POOL ds3 rode over it on his bike and burst it!

      RULE 1: Remember I was a kid once too - and drink more wine.

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    2. The bubble bath / paddling pool thing might be questionable, but never mind. It's obligatory to drink wine and watch! Lovely idea for the morning but every time my youngest is set free on that kind of thing drawings appear on the walls.
      As for the spiders, you might just have ruined my life / kids dinners for ever ;)

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    3. And I'm sorry to see that about your pool Joy!

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  7. All that's needed is a change of attitude to stop seeing your children as a hindrance to be dealt with. Spending time with your children shouldn't be a chore that stresses you out to the point where you can't wait to see the back of them again. If you stop thinking that way you find all these little things become a pleasure that you want to share with your children and you feel sad when they go back to school.

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    1. This is all about spending enjoyable time with the children and it's the chores I want to get out of the way and that I find the hindrance! The children don't always want to share them and neither should they when I have more than most do, with three foreign language students as well as them to take care of and it's all down to me, being a single mother. I maximise my time with them. The attitude is for fun. Never, fear, I will be sad when they go back to school :)

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  8. I am loving the idea of bubble bath in the paddling pool. x

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  9. Sane and sensible advice as ever! I look back on those days and wish I had lightened up a bit - although there were lots of fun and relaxed times. These days, I have the problem of trying to keep track of my two - still causing me worry, just a slightly different angle!

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    1. You always make me want to keep hold of them at this age! I do love it :)

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  10. I kept looking for the words sponsored post and the obligatory link, but you really have just written this out of the goodness of your heart.

    FAB tips in there young lady.

    I know Aaron is not school age, but I also have the same issue of keeping him busy every day whilst trying to afford copious amounts of ice poles etc... Luckily he is easily pleased, although a lack of funds mean I am not getting nearly as much alcohol as I would like.

    Today it has rained in buckets like a monsoon, which is pleasant after all the heat, as much as I have enjoyed the sun.

    Liska xxx

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    1. You know I always write from my heart, regardless. Glad you like them x

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  11. I really giggle at these kind of 'ways to survive the holidays' posts. I have two girls that are educated at home. For us there is no dread of school holidays. We enjoy each others company and find every day an opportunity for learning, bonding, talking and exploring. Does that make me a hero? Not really. I am single, I work and I am doing my degree via the OU. The main reason mum's find the holidays hard, are for the simple reason that your children are entertained every day at school, taught how to think, what to do, when to do it. My girls spend time thinking for themselves and finding ways to fill their days with endless projects and life skills. The only reason |I dread the holidays are for the numerous moaning posts, endless queues of parents feeling the need to fill each moment of each day with 'fun activities' and the over crowding. I yearn for the new term so myself and my children can once more explore the world in a quiet unrushed way.

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    1. This is more about surviving the practicalities that enable more fun, about making the most of the holidays with our children, not surviving them and it's supposed to be a bit of a laugh.

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    2. I thought the sort of hippy chick that would home school their kids would also be the sort of person who would be tolerant of others? No? Oh well, maybe you need to giggle, learn, bond, talk and explore a bit more, and come back in September when the people you can't survive on the planet with are back in their right term time place! What a horrid comment on what was a lovely tongue in cheek well written post!

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    3. The idea that home schooled children are the only ones who can think for themselves actually makes me cross. I went to mainstream school but I was forever making up ways to entertain myself, writing mini books, recording music and going out with my brother finding adventure. Equally I have a 5yo who has just come out reception class and he entertains himself quite easily. He also writes stories, makes fantastic creations out of his lego and makes his own fun with his 3yo brother without my instructions. I don't think anyone could tell my boys how to think, let alone school teachers. We are teaching them to question what they hear as my husband and I did when we were at school. So please ANONYMOUS do not insult the parents of mainstream school kids thinking your own methods are superior. It is a matter of choice, you have made yours and we have made ours. But I'm not so arrogant to think that I can adequately teach my children maths and science and all the rest of it on my own. Progressing in life and onwards isn't just about 'exploring the world'. There will come a point where children all need to think about what they would like to do and home schooling in my view doesn't necessarily facilitate that.

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  12. I love the paddling pool idea - and couldn't help[ but laugh at the notion of small child running over it with a bike and puncturing it hahaha. I love the chance to kick back a little and have some lazy-er days where we watch a bit more telly, play at home and in the garden, go for a walk and not have the time pressure of when we need to be out of or back in the house. I'd love to know how the person above works and educates the children at home and studies for a degree btw....

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    1. I Study when my children are in bed and I work hours suitable to my children. It works for us.

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    2. And I suspect her children might be older than ours? :)

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    3. But thank you for your comment NPJM. I know what you mean about kicking back. I love the quieter times too, especially in the garden and the not having to be out or in at specific times. It's difficult to laze about with two such young boys though - they're very sporty and like to be on the go, so I take them out scooting and on their bikes and to parks with friends etc and like to be organized because for the first few years I haven't been and it's been too chaotic for my liking! Spontaneity and two young kids don't always work! :)

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  13. Great list - have inadvertently been doing the hanging the washing out overnight thing and online shopping - couldn't live without Ocado!! Hope all is good with you xx

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    1. Thank you Luci - nothing inadvertent about that! Am impressed :)xx

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  14. Absolutely brilliant and all of it is so true. I'm hoping to get down to Brighton at the end of the holiday. I trust you will still be on the end of the blog / email if I manage that? Px

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    1. Thank you Polly. Would LOVE to see you. Am around apart from 27th xx

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  15. My solution is to pack them off on a five-day kids holiday. A week of childlessness is a marvellous feeling!

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    1. You never fail to surprise me! Don't think I could do it :)

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  16. Utterly brilliant post darling, great tips and really needed this today!

    3 and half year old is in summer camp a few days a week and loving it and juggling freelance life with folks helping with the baby interspersed with lots of lovely family time walking in the sunshine, feeding ducks and making fish out of paper plates (don't ask)before frantically remembering to feed, wash then pack lunches for the next day...ah summer holidays! This motherhood lark's fun isn't it! Mwah x

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    1. Mine went to a holiday camp for a day at a time but they really didn't like it. I loved the space it afforded me but we do love just hanging out like you are too :)

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  17. Bubble bath in the padding pool - brilliant!!! We are taking it really easy at the moment.... and I am loving it (done a few sponsored posts on my other site though - the money comes in handy obvs). And I have to say its really nice taking a break from the blog and not being bothered watching my stats fall down! X (never thought to hang washing out over night!)

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    1. Could definitely get used to this taking it easy malarkey too!

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  18. No. 6 - Gin

    I jest of course ;) But we are taking things slowwwwly this week after a very busy start to the hols which saw us here, there and everywhere. I find my children deceptively young - they are full of beans, can walk for miles, run for miles even and yet they do also need a lot of 'down' time, to rest and re-charge x

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    1. We could go on.... Glad you've slowed down, and the kids seem to appreciate that almost as much as we do!

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  19. Wise words indeed Anya! I'm currently feeling the stress of not blogging even though I've not got any sponsored posts to do! My tip would be to plan, plan, plan. I used to hate spending half the morning trying to think up something to do and then the other half chasing kids in PJs round the house trying to get them dressed and out.
    Enjoy the hols xxx

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    1. I love not feeling the need to read loads of posts, so you're doing some of us a favour! I think planning helps a great deal, but that getting them out of the house ..... Happy hols to you too xx

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  20. Brilliant tips - I love the bubbles in the paddling pool idea, get them clean in one go!! :) I felt a big burden lift a couple of weeks ago when I realised I couldn't keep up with my own blogging schedule over these summer weeks when there's so much family stuff to do. I am now blogging at a much slower pace and loving it all over again!

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    1. Thank you Tas. I think we really do need to take the pressure off of ourselves, so am glad you are and I look forward to catching up with your news in September x

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  21. On the basis we seem to have picnics every day at the mo - I don't know why I'm not making sandwiches with a glass of wine now. In fact I might just do it!

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