I was chatting to my good friend last week and she was panicking about how to cope during the Summer holidays with 2 young children. Similar to me she doesn’t have to worry about childcare (she is a teacher) but the thought of having the kids home with her for 6 weeks is really overwhelming. I can also speak from experience when I say that not having childcare worries is amazing, as is making all these memories together, but having the children with you for such a long time is really hard. Similar to a lot of people I don’t have grandparents taking them off my hands for a few hours or I don’t have the office to escape to for some grown up conversation. It is just me and the 3 kids for the majority of the time – 24/7 for 6 weeks (or 5 months if we remember 2020!)
If this is you then please remember the thought of the summer holidays is actually worse that what it actually is like. Of course we have bad days when I scream and cry. But generally we all really enjoy it. In fact I am one of those annoying parents who likes having the kids off with me.
Here are a few tips on how to cope during the Summer holidays:
Have a discussion with the kids and set a budget
My children are aged 10,8 and 4. I am trying to make the older kids have a better understanding of money. I am not working at the moment and everything is so expensive especially when you have 3 children. So now we sit down and I allow them all to choose one treat day. Meme wants to go to the cinema, Harri wants to go back to Bewilderwood and Alfie wants to go to a toy shop. So I will make sure that we will do these 3 requests. Anything else is a bonus. I try to do a treat day every week. So maybe on a Wednesday we will go to a soft play or adventure park, but then the rest of the week will be free trips to the park or beach etc.
I am pretty unorganised most of the time but I do know that the sooner I plan the less money I spend and less anxiety I get! Whilst we are still dealing with Covid everything needs planning and ticket generally need booking. Have a rough plan of how your weeks will look. I find if I don’t do this it can very overwhelming and expensive because you can find yourself panic booking or getting fed up and bored.
This pretty much goes hand in hand with being organised. I try to meet up with a couple of friends a week. I rarely do anything ‘special’ on these days as I find they are happy just in the garden or at parks when they are with other kids. I generally save our treat days for when it is just us (I realised this will be different for only children).
I plan to see my Sister and her children on Tuesdays and I have plans to see my other good friend and he children every Thursday. Then we will add extra days in adhoc throughout the summer. I find seeing other people throughout the summer really helps. My children have a great relationship but 6 weeks together definitely can be a little too much at times.
I have my husband home with me at the weekends to share the load making things so much easier. We try to get out and about as much as possible. My husband spends all week in a an office so he is all for the outdoors. We try to spend as much time out and about as possible. Driving a bit further a field and seeing new places. I find if we are out Saturday and Sunday it allows us to have a chilled lazy Monday at home.
Remember self care.
This is without a doubt necessary. It is hard work having children with you constantly for six weeks. My youngest wakes up early and my eldest never sleeps. I am on call all day every day. It is important I take time, even just ten minutes to myself. I have got into the routine of going on a bike ride before my husband leaves to go to work which has been a great way to start the day. When we get home from a day out my children are generally happy to go in the garden or watch some tv which allows me to have a cup of tea alone. I try and read a little before bed as a form of escapism. The summer holidays can be full on so make sure you grab some time to yourself when you can.
Go easy on yourself
Some days wont go to plan and that is ok. There will be tears (from you as well), tantrums and mess. Firstly lower your standards, it is impossible to clean with kids at home. At times admit defeat, hand them their Ipads and give yourself a break. Tomorrow is a new day.
I hope this helps on how to cope during the summer holidays. Enjoy it! There have been times when I have planned so much and spent a lot of money when in reality my children just love being with me. They love days out but they also really happy when we make cakes (always remembering to add Dessert Parlour sauces!) or play a board game together. The Summer holidays don’t have to break the bank.
And remember don’t need to entertain your children all day. Leave them to play on their own at times. Children have the best imaginations so encourage your kids to use them.