Kids got the day off school? We all know it’s survival of the fittest when the excitement of a sleep-in, the abandoned lunch boxes and the no-racing-out the-door-at-8am wears off.
I’m just going to say it…when it comes to a school holiday day, not every parent loves being home with their kids. Being a non-stop entertainment committee for kids can be a real drag for any already-exhausted parent.
School holiday activities aside, here’s an honest parent’s survival guide to any public holiday, student free day or school holiday period where the kids are off school. There’s no shame in hiding in the pantry, there really isn’t.
Your guide to surviving school holidays as a parent
1. Lie in for as long as possible
A technique that works well for my husband – the longer you’re in bed, pretending to be asleep, the more peace you get. Sure the kids could well be helping themselves to all manner of things in the pantry or have their eyes glued to the TV, but hey, you have to choose your battles.
2. Watch ALL the Netflix
There’s no greater excuse to settle in on the couch for a few solid hours, binging on mindless TV, than in the name of entertaining the kids. Pop the popcorn and warn the kids you’re going to introduce them to all your old favourite flicks, because #bonding.
3. Tag team your escape
Want to leave the house but don’t want to take your entourage of children with you? Tag team with your partner and start plotting your escape. When he returns from the gym or work, meet him at the door and say “see you in an hour buddy”. Don’t meet him in the driveway though, it can wreak of desperation. Play it cool and enjoy that barista made coffee!
4. Invite ALL the kids over
I know, I know it seems CRAZY, but it a crowd of kids actually works in the parent’s favour. Distracted by each others company, kids will have a blast mucking around with each other for an hour or two. Heat some
fine dining party pies or sausage rolls for an easy lunch and they’re good to go. Put your feet up and enjoy reading a couple of chapters of your book. Hey, you deserve it.
5. Stock the pantry
Of your own faves, obviously. Make a big fuss out of tidying the pantry or Tupperware cupboard and no one is going to want to enter the kitchen for fear of being given a job. Sit yourself down on a stool and enjoy the spoils of your forward planning. Just don’t forget to slam some plastic around and swear a little from time to time.
6. Turn a blind eye to mess
Honestly, if your kids are happily playing and spreading their 5000 pieces of Lego, Hot Wheels cars and supermarket collectibles from one end of the room to the other, just turn a blind eye to that kind of sh*t storm of mess. They’re making childhood memories yada yada yada… The clean up
meltdown chat can come later, just try to avoid stepping on any of it.
7. Encourage naps
Particularly your own, but also those for younger children. Even more so if you’ve been brave and taken the kids out to
tire them out enjoy the park in the morning. After all, who doesn’t love a little bit of ‘quiet time’? A quick nap or some downtime recharges everyone’s batteries and, with any luck, no one will be short or snappy with each other.
8. Avoid running errands
Avoid doing anything that you’d typically do that day. Grocery shopping? Nup. Post Office run? Hell no. Chances are, it’ll turn to custard and posting that letter today will cost you a milkshake, a doughnut and some random crap from the bottom counter shelf in a bid to put off your kid’s pending tantrum. Don’t. Do. It.
9. Hire a babysitter
Potentially a little cheeky, but consider hiring a babysitter. The kids will love seeing a new face to
torment play with and you’ll love getting out of the house, so it’s a #winwin for bringing in a babysitter for a couple of hours. Money well spent we say!
10. When it comes to dinner, treat yo’self
If you know you’re going to be deep in the parenting trenches all day long, the VERY LAST thing you’re going to want to do is find the energy to cook a family dinner worthy of Masterchef. Treat yourself to a quick takeaway option or at the very least, something that can just go from oven to plate. Pizza anyone?
11. At the end of the day, there is wine
Toast yourself for surviving the day at home with your kids. Toast the education system for willingly taking every child into their system five days a week. Whatever it is you’re toasting, cheers to that!
Of course, if you’re embracing having the kids home and want to do something a little different and fun, have a crack at this list of 20 outdoor activities for kids. It’s perfect for the upcoming school holidays!