School Holidays – A Survival Guide for Parents
It’s that time of year that teachers and students love but parents often dread…school holidays! Children are released from the confines and routines of the school environment and parents start hearing the dreaded words… I’m bored!
So what is a parent to do? Here are some of our best tips for surviving the school holidays and actually turning them into something you and your child can enjoy together, that won’t cost a small fortune.
Allow your child to become bored (within reason)
That’s right, sometimes children need to be allowed to be bored. As a parent, you often feel like you need to keep your child entertained every minute of the day. But allowing them to feel some boredom can encourage them to find ways to keep themselves entertained, learn to use their imagination and develop creativity. You may be surprised by the imaginative games and activities children will come up with if given the chance. Just remember to keep an eye out so that they are engaged in safe activities.
Discover your local neighbourhood
Local councils will often offer programs for children to attend during the holidays, you can also check out the local park, library or find out if other interesting events are happening near you. If the weather is fine, many areas have fantastic walks that can allow you to explore nature and get some exercise. Use paper or digital maps to look for places you haven’t been before. A simple internet search will let you know of a variety of suitable events happening where you live.
Family friendly activities
If you have children of different ages it is often difficult to keep them all happy with one single activity. Try sitting down with the whole family and decide on a few activities that the whole family will do together. Including your children in the decision making and planning is always a good start to any holiday. A trip to the zoo and lunch, a picnic at the beach or botanical gardens, or games at the park can all be enjoyed by different ages. Make sure everyone agrees on at least one thing so everyone has something to look forward to. These activities are also great chance to inspire some drawing, writing or photo and video work that can be shared and kept as a memento of the holiday.
Teachers do not generally assign homework over the holidays but this doesn’t mean children can’t learn during their time off, just make it fun!
One of the best ways to supplement children’s normal learning routines is with activities that won’t feel like chores. Take advantage of your local museum or art gallery, they usually offer free workshops that children of all ages can take part in and will often have some educational value included. Design and test various paper aeroplanes to see which ones fly the furthest or stay in the air the longest. Have an art day at home, paint some canvases, make play dough together or draw on your driveway with some chalk. Bake a cake or cookies together and ask your child to help measure out the ingredients, they could even plan a meal, do the shopping and help prepare it – but make sure they agree to clean up too! Activities like these will apply children’s school based learning to practical real-world situations.
Improve the quality of screen time
We’re guessing most parents will hear about the latest mobile games that everyone is playing and children do need time to play some of these games if that is part of their regular weekly activity (perhaps use them as reward for completing other activities or when you just need some time to get your own things done). But there is also an educational alternative to the usual repetitive brain-draining games. Learn Primary has both English and Maths activities for children to engage with. Learn Primary also includes lots of activities and tasks that need to be done outside of the application, such as writing tasks and language or maths games.
With some thought, a little planning and family discussion, the school holidays can be an opportunity to bond as a family, enjoy some relaxed time together, let your imagination run wild and even learn something! And don’t worry…the holidays will be over before you know it 🙂