I must confess I hate school holidays. Am I the only one who shudders at the thought of 2 straight weeks with my kids at home? Please tell me I am not alone. Every day I drop my tyrants (ahem, kids) off to school with a smile on my face. Sure, the other parents attribute this to me merely waving off my little rays of sunshine and being generally loving when in fact it is pure unrelenting joy that makes me smile — joy at the idea that they are about to be someone else’s problem for 7 blissful hours. It takes all my self-control not to scream ‘YES’ and do cartwheels all the way back to my car. Freedom! So, the thought of them being at home for 2 entire weeks causes me to break out in hives. I have had many years of experience dealing with dreaded term-breaks, or as I like to call them, holidays in hell, which has led me to share my top 5 tips for getting through this break with my fellow school holidays haters:
Tip 1. Do not panic. Easier said than done but believe me, they can smell fear. They will sniff around and circle you until you find yourself trapped. This is when you are more likely to cave into their demands. Don’t let this happen. This is not a negotiation. Remind your kids that your house is a dictatorship ruled by you — democracy is afforded to those who contribute to the bills. Have no fear!
Tip 2. Make sure you have a glass of wine. It helps numb the pain and a little self-medication never hurt anyone. It is a parenting-fact that the amount of wine one consumes is exponentially related to their increased feelings of calm. So don’t be a martyr and accept the pain. Have your ‘medication’ at the ready.
Tip 3. Ensure the pantry is well stocked. My kids are like piranhas at feeding time on the holidays. All day long I hear ‘What’s there to eat?’, ‘I’m hungry!’, ‘The fridge is empty’. FFS. How much food can one tiny human consume in one day? I usually try to make a few platters of food, which I lay out on the kitchen table. Then I run. I run like hell. I am smart enough to know that I do not want to be anywhere near the food when they pounce.
Tip 4. Plan a few play-dates with other miniature tyrants. But be warned – you need firm boundaries around the length of time that these last. I once had 2 of my children’s school friends stay for 9 hours! Yes people. 9 hours! I am surprised I survived to tell the tale. Don’t make the same mistake. Let your kids know that the play date will be for 2-3 hours and then it’s time to go home, making the pain intense but mercifully short. Try to pick a local gated park where they can run around without being able to run off. Even better, send them to someone else’s house for a few hours (allowing you to fit in a few cartwheels). If their friends do come to your place, don’t panic (tip 1), make sure there is plenty of food (tip 3), and remember that if it all gets to be too much, there is nothing wrong with hiding in a cupboard with a glass of red (tip 2). Honestly. We’ve all been there.
Tip 5. Whilst it is important to limit electronics and screen time, this is not the time to do it! Ten straight hours of Minecraft is not so bad. And who doesn’t love Sam & Cat all-day TV marathons? If it keeps them quiet, it is perfectly acceptable. Save the ‘you’ve been in front of the screen too long’ sermon for school nights.
And there you have it. My top 5 tried and tested, foolproof hot tips for parents looking to survive the school hol-i-s#*t-days.