School holidays are well underway in many states and about to begin in others. How do you keep the extra people in the house occupied and happy?
We all love our kids but let’s face it, having them around the house all day can still lead to some tension as they unwind the tiredness from the school term and sometimes struggle to keep themselves occupied happily. Most days we can find an activity to get out of the house, head to the park, visit a friend or pick up some things at the store but here is one strategy that I sometimes use to fill in a morning or an afternoon at home.
Spend a few minutes with each child alone writing down some activities that they enjoy doing in and around the house. I let them write down as many as they like and then we sift through to highlight five or six things that we think would give them a balanced afternoon. By balanced I mean not too much screens, some individual activities and possibly some combined activities. School holidays are usually fairly short and so I’m a little more flexible than I would be throughout the term.
Here are a bunch of ideas to prompt them with if they can’t think of them:
- read a book
- draw an epic picture
- play a board or card game
- watch some TV
- play with some toys that they haven’t seen for months
- dress up … Yes it works for boys and girls
- jump on the trampoline
- play some sport
- make paper aeroplanes
- clean out or organise a small space, desk, cupboard etc
I then let the kids make a plan from those top activities. It’s much more likely that they will be enthusiastic about the plan if they’ve had a chance to create it themselves but I’m always careful to call it a draft plan because there is often more than one of them and I need to coordinate to make sure there’s no clashes.
Initially I was basically doing all the work but as the cherubs get older they can pretty much sort it out themselves.
Let Them Go
In early primary school I’d often ring a bell every 30 minutes or set a timer for when to switch activities … and reward them with a snack or something for occupying themselves well (if they did haha).
We had our share of failures but more often than not by spending 5-10 minutes planning we could get through a half a day pretty pleasantly … And it always worked best with some sort of reward to look forward to at the end. For my boys that was often a movie night or some kind of outing or special dinner of their choosing.
Nothing revolutionary here but give it a go and let us know how it works.
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