In this post I am going to share some tips and ideas to help us parents get through the Summer holidays with our sanity intact.
In this step-by-step guide, I am going to share some things that I am doing to reduce stress this summer, and to allow myself to have an enjoyable and somewhat relaxing time. If we are not happy as parents, then how can we give our best to our children?
1.Back To School
Firstly, let’s get ‘back to school’ prep out of the way. Ideally before the start of the summer holidays, or early in the holidays, buy your child’s uniform and any extras they made need like lunchboxes and water bottles. You don’t want to do the last minute rush the day before the new school year starts, when the shops have run out of the specific white shirt size that your child needs. Check your local supermarket for basic uniform items, and get online for anything specific that your child needs for school.
2. Tidy up and clear out
Another thing that you will want to do before the summer holidays begin is to tidy up and clear out any toys and crafts. There is no point in buying new toys and crafts before clearing through the ones that you already have. I love finding goodies when I have a clearout. Also, complete big cleaning jobs before the summer holidays begin as you will not have the time and energy to do a big tidy up when the kids are at home. Once you have tidied up and cleared out old toys and crafts, it’s time to write a list of crafty bits that you will need to keep your children occupied over the summer. Head to your local bargain or craft store, and stock up on crafts. Put the crafts away and bring them out one at a time during the holidays when your children need an activity to keep them distracted. I also ordered some magnetic tiles from Amazon. They have great reviews and I thought they would be perfect to occupy the kids for a couple of hours every few days.
Let’s talk feeding our children over the summer holidays. Growing children do one thing really well, and that is to eat everything in sight. Meal prep is really important in our household. It is beneficial to spend a couple of hours in one day a week prepping some meals or ingredients to save for the days when you do not have the time or energy to cook.
Write a list of breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas and place in a binder for easy referral. It is so much easier to figure out what to eat on a particular day this way rather than having to rack your brains every breakfast, lunch and dinnertime.
Snacks. Stock up on snacks, unless you want to make a daily trip to the supermarket. Snack boxes are a popular option, and the idea is that each child is given a snack box at the start of the day; they can eat the snacks in the snackbox throughout the day but once it is finished, then no more snacks on that day. In my household, unfortunately the snacks would be demolished before breakfast. I will leave multipacks of crisps and snacks in the cupboards, and once they are finished, if it still early in the day, then I will replenish stocks from my hidden supply (lol) otherwise my children can wait until the following day for more snacks.
4. Days Out
Make a list of free, cheap and more expensive or special days out. Examples of free days out include a trip to the park or the library. A cheap day out could be a trip the cinema, and a more expensive or special day out would be a day at the theme park. List the parks in your town or city and make a plan to tour them. For the more special days out, list each one on a sticker, and space the outings throughout the summer holidays using a weekly planner. Making a list of outings is useful because you can easily forget about a particular day out.
If like me, you are on a budget, there are plenty of ways to save money on days out. One way I save money is by getting cheaper cinema tickets. I recently came across the Fever app while doing a google search for cheap cinema tickets, and was able to save money on Vue cinema tickets. Also, Groupon occasionally have discounts on cinema tickets and Asda have a pizza meal deal, which offers a free cinema ticket if you purchase 2 medium pizzas and a drink. Make sure the offer is valid at the time of purchase because I have purchased the pizza meal deal in the past and the movie offer wasn’t available at the time. Take your own snacks to the cinema to save money. Another way to save money on days out, especially trips to the park, is to buy multipacks of ice creams and ice lollies from Lidl, Asda or your local supermarket, because ice cream vans are quite expensive, especially if you have a large family.
5. Rainy day activities
This is a really important one for us, especially in the UK, because most of our summer holidays are rainy and wet. If you’ve been enjoying ice creams and ice lollies, save the lollipo sticks; if not, buy them from a craft or bargain store. Add a rainy day activity on each lollipop stick, put them in a pencil tin, and whenever it is rainy outdoors, allow your child to pick a lollipop stick from the tin. There are loads of activities for rainy days, including watching a movie, baking cookies or looking at old photos. You can also make paper mache balloons and objects, or a recent fun activity I came across was bouncing bubbles.
To make the glue for the paper mache, mix 1 cup plain flour with 2 cups water. Heat in a pan or in the microwave for 30 seconds (stirring and repeating a few times) until the mixture is a thick soup. If it is too thick add more water. Once cooled, use the paper mache glue to stick strips of newspaper (or supermarket leaflets) to balloons and other objects. When dry, paint and decorate.
To make bouncing bubbles, mix 1 tablespoon washing up liquid with 2 tablespoons sugar and 4 tablespoons water. The bubbles formed should bounce off cotton fabric.
Don’t be scared to venture outside and splash in muddy puddles when it is raining. Get the kids’ wellies and raincoats on, head outdoors and allow them to jump and splash away. Peppa Pig would be proud. Kids absolutely love this activity and when they return home they are more than happy to relax in front of a movie, giving you some much needed time to relax too!
Don’t forget to give your children some chores this summer. Write them clearly so that they are aware of what is expected of them each day, from making their bed to emptying the recycling. Children will feel proud of their achievements and it is a good idea to give them a sense of responsibility. Also, it eases the burden on yourself and your partner a little.
Last but definitely not least, make sure you are taking time out for yourself. It is so important that you are looking after yourself over the summer holidays, otherwise you will burn out and that will help nobody. Try to keep some sort of routine with the children; if they have no routine and sleep at midnight then you will be exhausted and unable to function. If you keep your children busy with activities throughout the day, then they should sleep at a reasonable time and you will get some time to yourself. Relax, refresh and rejuvenate doing what you love. For me, that means reading a book, watching a movie or series. I bought a colouring book and colouring pens recently, which has been a nice activity for me to switch off from the daily stresses.
Parents…you’ve got this! What are you doing this summer to survive? Share in the comments 🙂