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5 tips on how to thrive, not just survive, during school holidays

School’s out for summer and Claire Musters has some ideas what to do with your children

I just picked up my son from school and took him to the park alongside some other parents and kids. The inevitable happened: younger children started whining, there were tears and parents started saying: “Anyone else dreading the fact that we’ve got a whole six weeks of this?”

Sometimes the school holidays can seem like a massive challenge for parents. Here are some ideas on ways you can bring peace – and lots of fun – to your home this holiday time:

1. Get the family together to brainstorm ideas for what they want to do

This ensures that there isn’t an endless stretch of days with no plans. I’ve seen some great suggestions for ways to do this, such as coming up with six ideas (one for each week) together. Another idea is to brainstorm lots of free things to do, as well as things that will cost just a small amount of money. Then put them in a pot and pick out one free and one inexpensive idea for each week.

If you need some help finding ideas, there are some great lists on websites, such as this one on money saving expert.

2. Arrange get-togethers

If your children are young, arrange with other families to meet up in a park and take a picnic along. If your kids are older, offering to take them to a friend’s house, or suggesting they host a get-together at your home can get them engaging with others rather than staying stuck in their bedroom on their own.

3. Set some ground rules

I’ve seen some brilliant ideas on how to do this on social media, such as writing a list of things you expect your children/teens to do before they are allowed online. These include: washing, getting dressed, eating breakfast, tidying their room, helping with a particular chore (such as hanging out washing), spending a certain amount of time playing outside, another chunk of time reading, some more time doing something creative (perhaps an ongoing project) or interacting with others. They may grumble at first, but it will soon become a new routine for the holidays – and it helps everyone to know what is expected. You will probably also need to stipulate how long the screen time lasts for too.

4. Check out the local summer clubs

It may be that local churches, schools or sports centres hold summer clubs. This can be a great way of providing new activities for your children to enjoy – and gives you a bit of a break too.

5. Get them involved in cooking

Depending on their age, you can get your children to take it in turns to either assist you when cooking dinner or plan and execute it themselves.

Whatever plans you decide to make, offer them up to God and ask that he will help you all enjoy the time that you have together. As one mum reminded me today, we generally only have 18 summers with our children at home, so let’s make sure the whole family enjoys them!

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