When you’ve got young children and the summer holidays are upon you, sure, it’s nice being able to spend some more time with them but the holidays can start to feel a bit…unending. Endless reruns of children’s TV and films, squabbles and petty bickering or just the increased noise – oh, the noise.
Of course, if you’ve got a garden, on those sunny days you can encourage the kids to get out and play and that’s good for them (and great for you). But with attention spans the way they are in the single digits, this might invoke cries of “I’m bored” before long.
Here are a couple of ways to keep your little ones engaged over the summer months;
Challenges Around the Home
When the kids are off on holiday, there’s no reason they should sit around not doing anything all day, encourage them to get involved around the house.
Start a “Chore Olympics” where each activity becomes a different sport with leader-boards, vacuuming is one circuit, emptying the dishwasher is another and washing the car can be another. Who can do it the fastest and who can stay on top of the leaderboard?
If you’ve got the space, you could give your children their own garden patch outdoors, find some summer suitable vegetables to plant and have the kids document their progress. This is a great opportunity to also teach them a bit of responsibility, they’ve got to be gentle with the plants and water them every day.
That might sound like the plot to a reality TV show in which similarly sized families trade children for a week but really what we mean is to talk to the parents of your children’s friends. See if you can come to an agreement on swapping the kids a couple of times during the holidays. You host for a night or two and then they host in return. This gives you both a well-earned break and kids love a sleep-over.
Summer Adventure Holidays
Not always suitable for the little kids but certainly between the ages of 7–17, your children will love the adventure of spending time away from their parents. There are plenty of summer adventure holiday centres available, with options for both creative or adventurous kids.
Take Some Time to Yourself
Parenting is hard, if you can’t get the kids to an adventure holiday or you haven’t got the option for them to stay over at a friend’s house. You should at least designate a “peaceful day” every couple of weeks. Whether this is waiting for a rainy day for you both to veg out on the sofa watching films or a day on which the kids must entertain themselves (as much as possible).
Not only does this help your children see the importance of peaceful moments but is really important for parent’s mental health. Well, that and a custom wine rack full of your favourite dinner accompaniments.
Kids love the chance to get stuck in with their hands, why not put together an activity centre indoors or outside, somewhere they can get creative with paints, crafts, drawing. Use tarps or large bin-bags to cover the floor (walls and ceilings also if your child is particularly “creative”) something that can be easily removed or cleaned.
Children’s brains are happiest when they are engaged and considering your smartphone holds access to the entirety of human knowledge there should be plenty of opportunities for keeping them interested. This could be a new fact every-day or choosing a subject your child already finds interesting and learning more about it together.
Of course, there are teaching opportunities to help you out too; like learning to fold clothes, how to change the bed, how to properly store bottles or how to brew Daddy’s favourite beer (okay, we might have been kidding about those last two).
Whatever your plans are for the summer, enjoy them, it can seem difficult at the peak of a tantrum, but time is short, and we should appreciate every day. Even if it means leaving the room for five minutes and giving yourself a break now and then. Nobody’s perfect, but after all, we are only human.
This is a collaborative post.