6 weeks off is so good for kids.

(112 Posts)
Fraxinus Tue 30-Jul-13 20:18:54

Agree or disagree?

I agree! My kids seem so much more themselves after only 10 days off school. Less stressed, more communicative, more fun, less whinging. LOVE it.

I work term time only.
I love the summer break and so does dd.

This week she is at a performing arts summer school, next week we will visit various friends, have a potter around York, go for lunch one day at Yo! Sushi (which dd loves).
She has already had friends to sleepover, and in 2 weeks we go to Portugal for a fortnight.
It's perfect for us.

But...I work in an inner city primary school where 80% plus are entitled to FSM. Many live in inadequate housing, and will go without breakfast/lunch some days. There will be no trips out, and in some cases very little parental interaction.
Many play out on the street until dark and we have had police visit school after children had broken into dangerous abandoned buildings used by drug addicts.

For these children, 6 weeks is too long.
Apart from all the reasons mentioned above, come September their learning and knowledge will have significant gaps due to the lack of input and stimulation.

intheshed Tue 30-Jul-13 21:05:59

I agree but not sure if 5yo DD does... this morning she sat down and wrote out a long list of sums ( just 2+2=4 etc), wrote 'my work' at the top and told me I had to mark it!

I told her I'm in holiday too so I don't do marking grin

simpson Tue 30-Jul-13 21:10:01

Intheshed - LOL, my 5 yr old DD wrote a book about cats and Christmas today, I suspect she has been looking at Mog's Christmas beforehand grin

She is finding the lack of routine tough and wants to " learn" all the time and I want her to shut up give me a minutes peace!! blush

cory Tue 30-Jul-13 21:23:32

Our CM always used to comment how much dc's spoken English had come on in the holidays. And I used to comment that this was the one time of the year when they didn't actually speak or hear English spoken at all. But their minds expanded, what with talking to relatives and playing with their cousins, and that was good for their language development overall. Just hanging around their grandparents' house is educational.

MrButtercat Tue 30-Jul-13 21:30:57

Hmm we have a very low budget but don't struggle to keep the kids busy with interesting activities.

In the old days kids had even less and managed it in a variety of environments.Not everybody led an Enid Blyton existence.

One of the problems re society today is the idea you have to chuck money consistently at kids to amuse them.

We have had 4 week and 3 to go. Still enjoying the holidays smile

The fantastic weather has really helped. Haven't done anything expensive at all.

Mostly been swimming in rivers/lochs/sea smile

AbbyR1973 Tue 30-Jul-13 22:00:50

DS's finished school/ nursery on Weds last week.
I love them having 6 weeks off and I have reduced my work programme for all except my service week to spend more time with them and we do all sorts of fun things BUT...
I have seen a marked deterioration in particularly DS1's behaviour hmm he has been silly, rude and defiant which is a shame because he's a super boy when he's not like that. I think he needs the regular predictable routine and his behaviour stems from a mixture of excitement, tiredness and change to routine.
It's blooming hard work at the moment but it is lovely getting extra time with them.
Overal I'm grin and hmm

Periwinkle007 Tue 30-Jul-13 22:13:37

we haven't spent money on anything yet - well only a week in though so perhaps that is why. The weather has been good so just lots of being outside playing, walking, library etc. I don't think the holidays have to cost a lot, I think there is a lot to be said for just letting them play and use their imaginations, ok they get bored at times but leave them to it for a bit and mine seem to then start playing really nice little made up games or writing or reading themselves. They don't give me any peace because they like me to join in or answer their 400 questions every day but the elder one often reads to the younger one and looks at kids reference books to find things out to tell her sister.

AlienAttack Tue 30-Jul-13 22:19:54

Sorry periwinkle but the point I was trying to make is that holidays do have to cost if you are working parent(s). It's great that you don't have to worry about that and can do the " let them play" approach but my point, and I think others have said the same, is that you are in a privileged minority. I (and my DD) are also in a privileged minority because although I have to work during summer holidays, I do have sufficient income for my DD to attend various holiday playschemes, sports sessions etc. As others have said, it is much more challenging to ensure DC from lower income homes have the same opportunities in summer holidays.

Mumsnut Tue 30-Jul-13 22:27:56

My DS has grown 2 inches! I think he needed the downtime to do it (ie, has switched off his brain and glued himself to the sofa).

MrsRochestersCat Tue 30-Jul-13 22:30:45

Agree! As a working single mum, who has to save all year to afford holiday cover and eat nothing but pasta and rice all summer, I still think a long break is vital!!

Six weeks to relax without the pressure of achieving and performing, a step out of often claustrophobic school friendship groups... My children always grow a few inches too - which tells me that something physical (?physiological?) is happening.

Periwinkle007 Tue 30-Jul-13 22:36:03

oh yes sorry - yes they do cost if you have to work and I fully understand how hard it is to find the childcare/activities for such a long period. For me though if I went to work the money I earn would be pointless as it would pay the childcare costs and as I have one not yet at school it hasn't been worth my while going back to work. I was really responding to ReallyTired's comment that a middle class family with a SAHM with a reasonable income can afford interesting activities, which is true but I was just saying it doesn't have to cost in that situation. We don't have much disposable income and my kids don't get to do activities after school or at weekends like many others do, they would love to but it would be too much more us to pay for.

It will always be the case that children from different backgrounds get different experiences, the problem is that whilst many councils offer free stuff over the holidays the low income families who use it are the same ones who go out of their way to support their children and the ones where the children actually need the activities etc are probably the same ones whose parents don't send them to school and wouldn't access the free activities anyway. does that make sense?

I agree about growing too Mumsnut - I think kids do tend to grow when they have a break and some downtime.

simpson Tue 30-Jul-13 22:36:49

I am a single parent although not working atm but doing a lot of voluntary stuff (for a college course) which in term time adds up to a lot of hours, in my DC school and another primary school, so I am lucky to be able to be at home for my kids in the summer.

However money is v tight especially having to feed them all day grin

My priority is to make the summer holidays fun without chucking a lot of money around.

Growlithe Tue 30-Jul-13 22:44:36

I was only saying today at bath/bedtime how DD2 has changed at this time since the end of term. She went through the whole of the Reception year as a 4 yo, turning 5 just a couple of weeks ago.

She had been like a Tasmanian devil at bedtime during term time, she was so tired. Now she is giggling all the time. It's lovely.

DD1 was an oldest in school year, and has always needed lots of stimulation in the hoildays.

I'm a SAHM and its proving a challenge to strike a balance between the two of them. Doing more regular playdates helps a bit.

PhoenixUprising Tue 30-Jul-13 22:46:07

I disagree.

I hate having no structure to the day - to the point where I find it hard to get out of bed.

And my boys also hate having no structure. They far prefer being at school, with their friends, to being at home.

I don't think it's good for them educationally or any other way.

6 weeks is too long for my family. Far too long. And not because the kids are bored (they're not) or its expensive. Just because being out of school is dreadful.

Particularly if you're going to start a new school in Sep. then it's 6 weeks if hell.

I don't like the lack of routine, but the DC do. I am sill getting up at 6.30am even though I don't need to.

Periwinkle007 Tue 30-Jul-13 22:52:00

one of my daughters likes a lot of structure Phoenixuprising so I try to keep some sort of routine with every week day, morning routine is the same, they wake up early anyway so we still make sure we are completely ready and breakfasted before daddy goes to work, then they have a bit of playing time before a snack, then we normally go out to walk/shop/library then home for lunch, then similar break up of the afternoon with a snack in the middle etc. I just vary what we do in each bit and it seems to work for them. equally I think it is probably good for her to learn to be a bit more adaptable so I will gradually build up the unstructured time in the holidays to give her that opportunity and then get back to a routine before going back to school.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Tue 30-Jul-13 23:06:07

And today the pointless bickering with sibling stopped here. Def taken the first week to get into the swing of it and catch up on sleep.

So far dc have learnt many important skills such as butterfly/insect identification (including a short module on things that sting vs things that don't sting), use of dock leafs on nettles, how to swim 25m (prev10), how to paint a fence, most effective way to divebomb in a paddling pool and how to deal with whingey cousins. We are reading each night because we always do and doing the library challenge but def nothing else formal.

I am for once lucky career wise in being off the same dates as the kids...

gleegeek Tue 30-Jul-13 23:06:36

I have the opposite! My dd(9) has always hated routine and I can see and feel her unwinding from the stresses of school and the demands of rushing here and there. She and I are giggling/cuddling/being spontaneous and it's great smile

I am fortunate that I am a SAHM but I also have a long term health condition which means I would struggle to hold down a job. Dd accepts that some days we'll be out and about and others stuck at home. Our entertainment is of the free variety out of necessity. So far dd has played with the neighbours, planned and cooked dinner, played with the hamster and the dog, built dens, climbed trees, done some origami (birthday present), watched old dvds, been to the park, played in the sprinkler etc etc etc.

I would be very sad to see the long summer break change, it's a magical time for many children. I do agree however, that for some it isn't a good experience, and we need to look at what we can offer them. I don't agree that more school is the answer....

gleegeek Tue 30-Jul-13 23:07:33

Lovely post BabiesAreLikeBuses!

sonlypuppyfat Tue 30-Jul-13 23:10:33

We're into the second week they are all fed up! And my money tree didn't seem to flower this year

PhoenixUprising Tue 30-Jul-13 23:13:06

Your kids are younger and they have a daddy who goes to work.

It gets harder as they get older. It really does. You certainly can't take them to the park or the library.

And with no one in the house working there's more or less 6 weeks when nobody has to be anywhere by a certain time. it's really not good for anyone.

Periwinkle007 Tue 30-Jul-13 23:15:13

ah ok - yes I can see that would be very different. I used to spend my summer just reading generally I think or playing with neighbours but then it is so long ago I probably can't really remember it properly.

PhoenixUprising Tue 30-Jul-13 23:16:22

If someone asks my 12 year old DS if he's enjoying the holidays he says 'No, why would I? I'm unemployed for 6 weeks'

And he's right. It most certainly does feel like being unemployed for 6 weeks. And I don't think anyone's going to argue being unemployed is good....

sonlypuppyfat Tue 30-Jul-13 23:24:10

My DS has turned into a caveman he appears briefly from his festering pit just for food he's wrapped in a blanket and he just grunts when I speak to him

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