School holidays are almost upon us and whether we like it or not, they will keep rolling around every few months. Rather than be caught off guard each time and try to cope by madly rushing around organising things, it is best to follow a simple checklist to make sure you (and the kids) are school holiday ready.
There will suddenly be lots of kids that require entertaining
1. If you are working, whether at home or in an office, you need to organise babysitters, childcare, and child-swaps with other parents, or remind the grandparents just how gorgeous your kids are.
2. Certain places like museums, theme parks and zoos get extra busy over school holidays, so decide if you really want to queue and battle the crowds, or if you should arrange a visit before or after the holidays.
But schools holidays shouldn't make you feel like this
3. You will be having extra meals at home, so you need to plan for lunches and morning teas. Some families find it easy to make a lunch box the same they would have at school and kids can graze at their own leisure. Other families bring their big cooked meal to lunch so everyone lies around digesting (quietly) all afternoon. Either way, make sure you are prepared for extra mouths to feed when you do your weekly shop.
4. Look at booking kids into classes and activities. Many local councils and libraries offer free classes and workshops during the holidays, but they tend to book out early. So about two or three weeks before school holidays make a note to start checking your local newspaper or council website for information about upcoming classes.
Book your kids into some classes
5. If you do term classes such as swimming lessons or ballet, you need to be prepared for them to end! Do you need to find another activity to fill in the gap, re-arrange care arrangements or stop payments? Have your warned the kids their favourite class is going to stop for a few weeks?
6. Make sure you arrange a few home days, or pyjama days as we call them, when everyone can stay in their PJs all day and you never leave the house. Kids (and parents) need downtime, with no mates, no classes and no shopping excursions. Don’t over-schedule the kids – holidays are meant to be a break. Having a few deliberately boring days at home before school goes back is also a great way of reminding kids how much fun school can be.
7. Write a list of all the jobs you have been putting off for the last few months, things like printing a years worth of photos, spring cleaning the house, sorting the kids’ clothes or tackling the pantry. You probably won’t achieve most of them, but having a clear list makes it easier to make a start.
But make sure they get plenty of down time
8. If one of your jobs is to tidy, clean or sort, get the kids to help by pulling out all their old toys and books and then hold a garage sale. If you double up with a neighbour or two, not only have you tidied the house and made a few dollars, but you have also occupied the kids for a few days. Click here for some tips on how to run a successful garage sale.
9. Entertaining the kids during holidays doesn't mean spending lots of money on excursions and trips - the best activities can be done at home - for free! With a little bit of prep in advance, you can have everything ready for these great home activities and best of all, they will entertain the kids for days, not hours.
What are your best tips for getting school holiday ready?