So the school holidays are upon us and I hope you’ve had your Butlin’s Red Coat dry cleaned and aired for the next few weeks of entertainment!The school break is a time for relaxation, recovery and re -cooperating energy but it can also feel like a burden of responsibility and an expensive nightmare if you don’t get clear about how you’d like to spend the next couple of weeks with your children.If you think of school holidays as a trial to be endured then they will indeed feel like an ordeal because you get what you focus on, but if you take just a little bit of time and make just a little change in perspective you’ll enjoy them far more.

The school holidays are a lovely opportunity to build memories that will last a lifetime with your kids so think what you’d like them to be saying 10 years from now and how you’d like this time to be remembered.

Keep the fun simple – play cricket in the garden, make your own ice lollies and spend just a half an hour with your kids and watch all your relationships flourish.

Here are some practical tips to keep you positive, upbeat and raring to go!

  • Be creative. Think of some fun activities that are cheap and easy to do at home. Bake a cake, teach your 15 year old to cook spaghetti bolognaise so they will never go hungry, have picnic under a tree in your garden, ride a bike together, walk the dog, look for fairies under stones or try a new game (see the end of this article for ideas).
  • Set a personal goal. Perhaps your child would like to swim a width, run in a local charity fun run, help do the local shopping or get the paper for an elderly neighbour or make a collage out of their holiday snaps, or work at the local hospital radio for experience? Just let your child‘s imagination daydream for a few moments and see what they come up with – it will keep them motivated and busy. Perhaps you could do the same!
  • Delegate. Get the kids involved in jobs around the house as it teaches them responsibility- so get your 15 year old cutting the grass or your 8 year old laying the table or your toddler putting away their own toys.
  • Be playful and lighten up! Enjoy this special time with your kids and bounce on the trampoline or the bouncy castle, paint a rainbow or watch “Shrek” again and become more childlike in your approach to life. It will put a spring your step and you’ll laugh and giggle more which is really good for you!
  • Get outside more. Read in the spring sunshine, let the kids play with leaves and mud and water, paint water pictures with paintbrushes and water so the pictures dry up quickly with no mess, get a sandpit, let them water the plants with watering cans, make perfume from rose petals, grow sunflowers from seed, get them practising their golf by putting into a hoop or just have friends over to make up games with.
  • Chill out. Be more flexible in their routines and their getting up or going to bed times, be watchful but more flexible in the TV time or computer time. Have the odd treat to eat.

It’s a time of replenishing, breaking the rules and having more fun so relax, chill out and enjoy it!!

Here are a few ideas of games to play:

Digging for Treasure – Your kids can pan for silver and gold right in their own back garden with this summertime sandbox activity.

What you need: 20 or so small rocks + 1 teaspoon each of silver and gold acrylic paint + Waxed paper

Time needed: Under 1 Hour

  1. To set it up, first place 20 or so small rocks and 1 teaspoon of silver acrylic paint in a sealable container. Shake the container to coat the rocks, then set them on waxed paper to dry.
  2. Next, rinse out the container, add another batch of rocks plus 1 teaspoon of gold acrylic paint, and repeat the process.
  3. After the rocks have dried completely, bury them in your sandbox and send kids out with toy shovels and sifters to find the treasure.

Four Square Game for 9-12 year olds – A tap and a bounce keep you in this volley.

What you need: Pavement or driveway +  Chalk + Ball

  1. Draw a 6- to 10-foot square on a paved surface, such as a driveway.
  2. Divide the larger square into four smaller squares, number the squares 1 to 4, and have each child stand in a block.
  3. The player in square 4 serves the ball by bouncing it in his square and tapping the ball into another square.
  4. The player in that space must tap the ball (after one bounce) into another kid’s area, and so on, until someone misses the ball, lets the ball bounce twice, or sends it out of the grid.
  5. The player who misses the ball steps out and the remaining players rotate up through the numbered squares. If you are playing with more than four players, a new player enters the game at square 1.
  6. The player who is out waits in line to re-enter the game once square 1 is open again.
  7. Whoever is now in square 4 serves the ball to resume play.

Relax, tap into your child’s world and have fun !

About the author

Sue Atkins is a Parenting Expert who offers practical guidance for bringing up happy, confident, well behaved children. She is also the author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” one in the  famous black and yellow series published worldwide and the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy CDs. She regularly appears on BBC Breakfast and The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 and her parenting articles are published all over the world.

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  Sue Atkins the Parenting Expert
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