Depending on what part of Australia you live in, you may of just survived your first week or first day post-school holidays. Tonight, one of our anonymous lovers shares on school holiday hangover and provides some great tips for getting through …
If you have school age children the school holiday hangover might be something you’re familiar with. It starts with excitement to have some time off work to spend with the fam and ends when you go back to work exhausted needing another holiday, or feeing devastated because you feel like you’ve finally got your life back in order. It’s amazing the calmness that comes over your house when you haven’t spent each day screaming like a wild banshee to get everyone out the door/to eat their dinner/clean up their room/brush their teeth.
I’ve definitely been on that pendulum over the years. From wanting to go back to work to break the monotony of being at home, to desperately missing my babies while I was at work, and then wishing the school holidays away to get through the never ending bickering, whinging and feeding. My sister’s family and I usually share care over the holidays so our kids end up spending a lot of time together. This arrangement is super convenient but prone to pain and anguish for the lucky person in charge of all four kids. Over the years our kids have been to almost every school holiday hotspot in an attempt to keep them entertained. These activities have always been a bit hit and miss. Our biggest disasters include:
- a trip to the coast with all four kids. It resulted in each of them having uncontrollable car sickness, a rockslide on the main road, a flat tire and a two hour trip that took five hours.
- a failed attempt of diy-volcanoes that ended an in explosion all over the floor and walls, and
- a game of ‘the floor is lava’, which ended in something that looked disturbingly like Lord of the Flies.
But this holidays I’ve stumbled across a different feeling, it feels a bit like the school holiday Mecca. Having an amazing time with your kids and their love cousins (the kids that aren’t technically yours but you boss around like you’re their mum and love like your own), and then returning to work happy that you’ve had some quality time with your family and you haven’t considered selling them on eBay. For once I feel like I got through the holidays unscathed, and more importantly, so did my kids. We’ve rock climbed, baked, pulled out the craft box, and visited museums. Ok, right now you’re guessing I’m some kind of freak, or a complete delusional liar. I promise you I am not rocking back and forth while I write this. I don’t know how I managed to find the right formula, I honestly think everyone has a different age that works for them. Some people love the baby years, others are happier when they get out of the house and participate in activities with the kids. These are the things that I think helped me enjoy my time with the kids these holidays…
- Canberra rocks – you won’t hear me say this too often, particularly in a week where the temperature has reached a max of around 6 degrees. But Canberra definitely delivers pretty cool activities for kids. We’ve got amazing museums, walking trails and fabulous parks.
- Make a plan for each day – knowing I was looking after between 2 and 5 kids each day, I knew I had to make a plan to get through the day. I looked up all of the regular museums and figured out one thing we could do each day. Getting out once a day meant the kids were happy to help cook dinner or hangout watching TV.
- Figure out what they love – looking after kids of different ages can be tricky. Finding something that they all love is the key to creating a bit of harmony. With my crew it’s all about craft. I know we can do just about anything as long as there’s a hot glue gun involved.
- Keep it cheap – with a whole bunch of kids and a week to get through, you need to be a bit of a tight arse. I looked for activities that wouldn’t cost more than $10 per kid and stuck to free activities on other days. I also packed food, A LOT of food. My kids are the kind that start to whinge for food the minute they step out of the car. I loaded up on cheesymite scrolls, fruit and other snacks to keep the costs to a minimum.
Over to you, Lovelies… any tips for getting through the holidays?