Along with the arrival of some much needed sunshine comes the realization for parents that in a little over four weeks we’re going to be hearing the pitter patter of pre-school and pre-teen-sized feet on the floor. No matter how much you love them, we all wish there were just a few more hours in the day to prepare for the impending chaos that’s just biding its time, lying in wait for when the final school bell of the year tolls.
To avoid six weeks of dullsville and total meltdown at the state of the house by the time it’s all over, here is my handy countdown of three top tips to help you get "Project Successful School Holiday" off the ground.
Clean Up Your Act
Maybe you’re the proud parent of a gaggle of giggly under 10s or you’re well into the teens with a terrible twosome. Whatever age your children are one thing’s for sure: the cleaning never ends. Just as soon as you’ve wiped the worktops there’ll be sticky handprints and leftover crisp crumbs to greet you. To help lighten the load, get the bigger jobs out of the way before the school gates close for summer. Missed the windows on this year’s spring clean? Get the bucket and buffer out before the kids get home and you’ll have a weight off your mind. Trying to entertain your bored brood and get a good shine on the bay window is unrealistic so put in the effort beforehand and you’ll thank yourself afterward. The same goes for all those pesky jobs we like to leave till last; ovens, shower trays and even the car all come under the pre-holiday TLC action list.
Be Budget Conscious
Unless you’ve just won the lottery it’s unlikely that you’ll be taking the kids out every day but at the same time you all need things to look forward to and activities to punctuate what can be a bit of a slog, especially for the younger ones. Before you go booking yourself into the circus, the cinema and the craft club within a day of each other, check your bank balance. Try to ensure you’ve got enough to do something fun away from the house each week without tipping the scales against you. If you can, it’s a great idea to start putting a little more away now in preparation – a rainy day jar really adds up if you can afford to pop a spare ten pounds in each week and you’ll be thanking the Gods when it’s bucketing rain and you’ve got the cash for a visit to the soft play. Most local authorities have a “What’s On” that includes free activities too – bonus!
Plan Your Fun
The kids will want to do everything – and we mean everything – that’s on offer in your local area this summer. With your budget set you’ll already know how far the kitty will stretch but money’s not the only issue, there’s also the matter of preference. Child Number 1 likes to paint unicorns with their fingers whilst Child Number 2 is at home climbing (and inevitably falling out of!) trees. Scour your local paper for ideas and see if you can strike a balance; a farm visit could provide a great combination in this case – messy hands and the great outdoors!
Summer holidays can be the best time of year for families – keep it that way by getting prepared early and commencing battle armed with an organized house, budget and activities.