I recently did a Facebook LIVE in our Free & Frugal Fun for Kids group (you’re welcome to join us!) about how I manage four kids at home for the Summer break. It’s the pinned post so you can take a look if it might help.
There’s a checklist of things I suggest really help out, but of course you know best how your family unit works…
- Get a calendar, planner or piece of paper and plan out the whole break, filling in as much as you can with events and appointments you already have booked. You can then see the ‘blanks’ and balance out down time and activities.
- Spend an evening doing some research on Facebook Events and any of the free magazines you might get to see what’s going on locally that is free or within your budget – my budget is never more than £5 per day. Add any that look interesting to your calendar, book ahead if you feel very passionately about going.
- Update your list of local places to go – you should have one permanently on the fridge – parks, nature reserves, splash pads, feed the ducks – anywhere free that you can take the kids for a bit of fresh air and a run around.
- Spend some time collecting up useful items into shoe boxes (or similar) so they are ready on hand for when you need them… for example all the pens and pencils, scrap paper and old magazines for cutting and making a collage. Board Games. Jigsaws and dressing up. Adults need to accept that the house will be trashed for the whole holiday, but it’s all good!
- I find themes helpful to focus our attention so for each week we are at home I call it ‘Animals Week’ and find everything I can around the house on that theme. I used to have separate boxes but now there are four kids that’s just too much work so it’s a communal box of DVD’s, dressing up, colouring in, word searches, books, lego building instructions and toys all on the theme of the week. If possible I pick a theme that goes with the plans for that week – so if we’re going to a pirate day it will be ‘Pirate Week’.
- Make sure you have some time with other adults, play dates can be far less work that you think as the kids often entertain each other and you get to speak to another grown up. It’s important as parents that we look after ourselves as it’s a lot of work to entertain kids all Summer and keep your patience, and help them with their own too!
- Call in for help, maybe you can swap kids for an afternoon or evening so both families get a bit of a break and the kids have an aweseome time too, if you have family then see if they can help out anytime. It can be useful if you have a mix of ages so that you can do a few more age appropriate activities. For example I can’t take all four swimming on my own, so that’s a good thing to do if any helpers are available…
- Remember that this is supposed to be a break for everyone, maybe you can have some PJ days and let the kids chill out. We find it good to have lazy mornings, a bit of an outing and then a movie and more relaxed late afternoon.
- Make sure kids have some alone/quiet time. It can be lovely for siblings to be together again but there may also be times when being all together can get a bit much.
- HAVE FUN! While it’s lovely to add a bit of discreet learning and meaningful time it’s also supposed to be fun, to connect again without the enforced routines and times of school life. You can let your hair down a little and embrace the chaos… as the saying goes ‘the days are long but the years are short.’
Every school holiday we have a daily ‘what we did and what it cost’ on Instagram, and Facebook. I don’t include normal food as I would feed them anyway, but all other daily activities are listed. If you are nosey, or think it would be useful do join us x