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.

JakeBullet Tue 30-Jul-13 20:20:43

I am enjoying it for the purely selfish reasons if no uniform to sort out or packed lunches to make.

LEMisdisappointed Tue 30-Jul-13 20:23:20

Should we ask you again in six weeks Fraxinus? grin

So far so good here, my DD (8) is knackered and needs the break

AlienAttack Tue 30-Jul-13 20:27:15

I think there can often be a big difference between the experience of 6 week school holidays for those children who have a stay at home parent and those who have working parents. I'm a single parent, lucky enough to only work 3 days per week, but only able to take 2 weeks holiday in the summer. So for four weeks I am trying very hard to strike a balance of activities for my DD that enables me to work but gives her a sense of doing different things from school routine etc. if anything, for me it is probably more stressful because I am juggling even more activities and options around my usual working hours but I try to do that so my DD feels she is also having a break from routine. I am always very envious of posters at this time of year who talk about the wonderful days they spend in pyjamas just pottering around the home.
Please don't get me wrong, I still think 6 weeks off is good my my DD, it just takes a bit more organisation on my part to ensure she feels it is 6 weeks of holiday...even if it isn't for me.

Ponders Tue 30-Jul-13 20:30:21

Well OP did say good for kids...grin

AlienAttack Tue 30-Jul-13 20:33:04

Quite right!

Periwinkle007 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:36:24

well we have had a lot of shouting and misbehaving but it is great to see my kids getting time to play together. DD2 has really missed DD1 when she has been at school and they do play well together (most of the time). Whilst yes 6 weeks of them can be stressful in many ways I do think they need it, I think it is good for them, it gives them a chance to switch off for a bit, be themselves, be with siblings, play with their toys, mentally consolidate stuff they have learned in the last year and have a rest. I would quite like kids to get a bit more holidays in the year - personally I would quite like 3 weeks Christmas, 3 weeks Easter and 6 weeks summer as well as the week long half terms BUT as has been said I am lucky that I am managing to still be a stay at home mum.

chickensaladagain Tue 30-Jul-13 20:41:59

My dcs often go back more tired after the holidays

The pattern tends to go

2 days with grandparents
2 days holiday club
1 day with either parent
2 days with other grandparents
2 days with a parent

And repeat

There are 80 miles between grandparents and the holiday club is a sports one so they get tired and tend to only sleep in their own beds once a week

We are divorced parents and both work full time shifts so we do the best we can

Meglet Tue 30-Jul-13 20:42:16

Disagree. I've still got to go to work and make sure the dc's keep on top of their reading / writing / maths. Mum isn't as strict as me so she lets them play all the time unless I make a fuss about doing a couple of work book pages or summer project.

DS forgot how to spell his name in a card today hmm, and we have another month to go.

Roll on september.

Patchouli Tue 30-Jul-13 20:42:19

I'm with you.
Plus DD is getting to learn a load of stuff that there's not the time for when there's school: tying laces, bike riding, climbing, swimming is improving, nature etc
That makes it sound like we're doing great activities all the time and we're not by any means - me and DH are still working (albeit I'm part-time).
And, without that school run after work, we're all eating better. There's just more hours in the day.

I like that DD sees more of her baby sister too. On a school day they only see each other in the evening and get too giddy playing when it's supposed to be quiet down time - so even the baby's sleeping better now that it's the holiday.

Sirzy Tue 30-Jul-13 20:43:45

i think 6 weeks is too long. 4 weeks at summer and the other 2 added on to other holidays would make more sense IMO.

PeanutButterOnly Tue 30-Jul-13 20:45:53

Depends on so many things and cicumstances it's impossible to generalise. For my children it's good and for that I and they are fortunate.

alpinemeadow Tue 30-Jul-13 20:48:09

And i'll just add i think it's lovely for the secondary school ones as well - you see them winding down, not necessarily doing anything thrilling, but just able to relax with the thought of a long break.

MilkRunningOutAgain Tue 30-Jul-13 20:48:12

I work 4 days a week and yes, sorting out childcare so the kids can enjoy their holidays is hard work, but I love the long summer holidays. DD has already regained her holiday persona, she's shy at school but not in the holidays. And it's time for the whole family to have 2 weeks away soon, I can't wait! Lots of playing outside, making dens, getting wet in the sprinkler, walks locally, trips to the swimming pool, etc.

No. Too long. Agree with Sirzy. Also I think it affects their ability to get back into it in September.

PeanutButterOnly Tue 30-Jul-13 20:51:12

Some of the points in this article illustrate how different an experience a long school holiday can be http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2013/jul/26/summer-camps-school-holidays

Hulababy Tue 30-Jul-13 20:52:15

Well both me and DD are enjoying it.

I'm in week 2. DD is in week 3. All going well so far. Getting to be out and about, seeing friends, doing stuff we don't have time for in term time. Love not having the strict routines that cannot be broken.

Off on holiday for a fortnight end of next week too. Can't believe they'll only be a week left when we get back though!

PeanutButterOnly Tue 30-Jul-13 20:52:47

Sorry, link here

Hulababy Tue 30-Jul-13 20:55:22

In many other countries the summer break is far longer than 6 weeks too. So def don't think 6 weeks is too long.

ReallyTired Tue 30-Jul-13 20:58:16

If you have a reasonable amount of money then the summer holiday can be a fanastic experience for children. A reasonably well off family with working parents can afford holiday camps to keep their children amused. A SAHM parent with a reasonable family income can afford a range of interesting days out.

However life is dire if your family has a low income. Some kids are just stuck inside playing on the computer because there are few places to go and play. Some parents use poor quality childcare or worse still leave their older kids to roam the streets.

I don't believe the answer is to shorten school holidays. Prehaps there needs to be subsidised holiday schemes in areas of social deprivation.

PeanutButterOnly Tue 30-Jul-13 21:00:35

Agree Reallytired.

Fraxinus Tue 30-Jul-13 21:00:41

not necessarily doing anything thrilling, but just able to relax with the thought of a long break. ^^ agree that they don't have to have 6 weeks of 'holiday' just 6 weeks off school.

Alien attack.. I am also a separated parent who works 3 days per week, and I am doing a lot of juggling to sort the childcare out. I am taking 2 weeks off, plus the bank holiday. it is stressful I sympathise, and in previous years It has not worked out so well for me.

I posted this thread because I was so happy to see my daughter happy and relaxed instead of stressed an uptight.

LEM is disappointed..... Yes, please do ask me again at the end of the holidays!

Hulababy Tue 30-Jul-13 21:02:09

When the weather is nice and dry then round here we are pretty lucky. Lots of great parks with great facilities all for free - playgrounds, gym stuff, water play, paddling pools, bike and scooter tracks, sports stuff like nets and hoops.... All on bus routes if not walkable.

Our libraries offer various events too.

Oh and the local council do various free activities - there is a programme online of where they will be and what they are doing each day. They are normally outdoor events though.

We have a pretty good museum which is geare dup for children visiitng - again free.

simpson Tue 30-Jul-13 21:04:27

Today is the first day that I have found tough.

My DC (7 and 5) have been off for nearly a week.

I am lucky in that my DC school do football coaching in the holidays (£50 for a whole week) and DS is booked in to do the week after next but it is tough finding things to do when budget is limited tbh.

We are doing a few things at the childrens centre, local library and the youth club they both go to has trips in the holidays.

I do want my kids to relax/chill but at the same time keep on top of their school work/learning.

I am enjoying the lazy mornings though grin

sweetkitty Tue 30-Jul-13 21:04:31

We're in week 5 here and loving it, don't want them to go back.

We've had some great day trips, visited friends and just chilled out. I'm a SAHM there is no way I could find holiday clubs for 4 DC over the Summer and have no family.

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

PastSellByDate Wed 31-Jul-13 06:49:19

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



Women in STEM subjects are sorely under-represented.

For example:




I understand that you're tired out (it sounds like you're a teacher and have just finished a busy term and understandably are exhausted). However - without realising it (?perhaps) you've just signalled to your five year old daughter effort in maths will not be rewarded by you/ is not valued by you.

Please rethink this. You don't have to mark it right there and then - but your DD has clearly off her own back done some maths - because she enjoys it - this is what she is interested in and values. It may not be what you value (or enjoy)- but if this could be where her talents lie perhaps you should consider whether you would support it in the same way you might support music, dance, drama, sport.....

I don't know whether she was playing at school or trying to play with you (pretending your her teacher) - but I don't see anything wrong with encouraging a child in maths (sure it may involve you in more work than sitting on a bench while she has a swimming lesson), but what could your supporting this interest (as valid as any other) achieve?

Ken Robinson gave this talk on investing in talent: www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9v6QehKeqU

Finally - I've written a lot about maths here. If your DD is really interested and would like to be doing math for her play please consider allowing her time on the following websites:

BBC bitesize KS1: www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1/maths/ (free)

Woodlands Junior School Maths zone: resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/maths/ (free)

Maths Champs age 5 - 7 games: www.mathschamps.co.uk/#home


If she wants worksheets but you don't want to mark them - consider printing out sheets from:

worksheet works (BETA - so does have some glitches) - but you can design your own maths sheets (# of questions/ difficult/ etc...) and it will print out the sheet & the answer sheet: www.worksheetworks.com/math.html

Math drills has hundreds of worksheets and also will supply answer sheets: www.math-drills.com/index2.shtml

With the answer sheets she can mark her own work - she just needs
your help selecting appropriate work & printing this kind of thing out.


Finally there are on-line tutorials which will teach, provide practice and mark the work for you. These do all require subscription and prices vary but various people on MN have written to say they have had success with:

Mathletics: www.mathletics.co.uk/
Maths Whizz: www.whizz.com/
Komodo komodomath.com/
Mathsfactor www.themathsfactor.com/

I also know that some parents have been posting about Squeebles maths apps - more info here: www.keystagefun.co.uk/squeebles-addition-and-subtraction.html - and there is an addition/ subtraction APP for iphone/ ipad/ android/ kindle Fire platforms.

MrButtercat Wed 31-Jul-13 07:25:50

Phoenix I know several people who have been unemployed for longer than 6 weeks- you get up and make a useful routine.

I used to live in the arse end of nowhere during the hols as a teenager with a mother who couldn't drive.We still made the holidays a positive experience.

Don't agree something as valuable for children as the 6 week holiday should be derided because of adult lifestyle.

Hulababy Wed 31-Jul-13 07:43:16

Dd is starting a new school inSeptember as she's off to secondary. Still not hell here in any way.

But then dd still sees friends and is in constant touch with them via text and email type stuff. She has always loved school but the holidays are great for her. She has a week longer than me but its never been an issue. After a week of adjustment she will go off on her own and do lots of stuff she normally doesn't get time for or doesn't have the patience for.

PhoenixUprising Wed 31-Jul-13 08:07:59

MrButtercat - what we're debating here is if a 6 week holiday is valuable for children. It's a contentious issue. It's absolutely not a given. And there's certainly a lot more to it than 'adult lifestyle'.

I don't even know what you mean by 'derided because of adult lifestyle'. I think you're having a go at me, but I'm not sure (there's been lots of posts on this thread.)

If you're having a go at me, you'll need to explain yourself better.

Hulababy - I'm really glad that your DD is enjoying her holidays. But many kids are so anxious about going up to secondary school that they don't relax for 6 weeks.

Also many kids don't have friends or don't have friends who they can stay in contact with over the holidays. Your daughter is very lucky - it's not a given.

I'm jealous of all you guys who are having fabulous time and whose kids are having a fabulous time. But that doesn't mean long holidays are good any more than other kids not having a fabulous time means long holidays are bad.

The question can only be answered by exploring a) what we want kids to get out of the holidays and b) do they achieve that - or rather what proportion of kids achieve that and what happens to the kids who don't.

We've touched on those questions, but not discussed it much in this thread.

PhoenixUprising Wed 31-Jul-13 08:10:46

As always on MN group-think kicks in, so only people agreeing with the first few posters post.

I don't think the replies on this thread are representative either of the majority of MNers or of the majority of parents.

There's been loads of threads in the last week about how hard the holidays are. Which is not the impression you get from reading this thread.

MrButtercat Wed 31-Jul-13 08:16:22

Children are not adults.

They need downtime and a lot of it.

Schools are expecting more and more from children.They need a proper break from that.As a society we need to look at the needs of children and work round it not fit kids into adult life.

Yes more parents will be working but that is no excuse for criticising or getting rid of something that is beneficial for the majority of children.

We should instead be looking to providing more quality childcare, supporting parents who struggle and helping parents with flexi hours.

Instead the gov would like to use schools as cheap childcare,criticise and cut holidays.

YY Phoenix, the holidays are tough. I have a 14 year old and an 11 year old. Once the routine and structure is taken away it's hard.

MrButtercat Wed 31-Jul-13 08:17:53

Believe me in my RL without exception all parents I know value the holidays- the majority work!

MrButtercat Wed 31-Jul-13 08:20:14

Sparkling then things like youth clubs,street play schemes,children's centres,library activity extension activities,support etc.....should be available but they're being cut.

PhoenixUprising Wed 31-Jul-13 08:24:13

MrButtercat How do you know that children need downtime?

What is downtime? Why don't they get it after school and in the weekends and in the shorter holidays?

How much downtime do they need?

At what age do they need this downtime? After all school holidays apply for people aged 5 - 17. Do they all need downtime? Do they all need the same amount of downtime?

Should secondary schools have the same amount of holidays as primary schools?

As a 16 year old can have a full time job, it seems a leap to say that 17 year old's need downtime.

Would it be better to spread this downtime more evenly throughout the year? So have the same number of weeks of holidays without having such a long block over summer?

the majority of children - the majority is 51% - how many children does long holidays suit? Are you happy with it suiting 51% and being bad for 49%? Or is there a higher number you think it needs to suit for long holidays to be a good idea?

I agree with that MrButtercat but I know that my 14 year old in particular wouldn't want to go to anything like that. A ,lot of how tough the holidays are depends on what your children are like.

He has his paper round today, at least he has to do that and he has a deadline.

We are only a week in though, and both are still adjusting....

PhoenixUprising Wed 31-Jul-13 08:28:13

things like youth clubs,street play schemes,children's centres,library activity extension activities,support etc.....should be available but they're being cut.

But these are exactly the things teenagers don't want.

You can't force people to be social and have fun. Holidays clubs / activities are many children's idea of hell.

When I worked holidays weren't a problem at all smile My nanny looked after the kids in term time and in holidays. I didn't even really notice whether the kids were on holiday or not. Life was easy. So telling me that working parents like holidays also does not reflect my experience.

None of the other parents where I worked even noticed it was holidays. We just did our job. And childcare in one form or another took care of our kids.

MrButtercat Wed 31-Jul-13 08:36:26

Phoenix didn't somebody say full time working mothers are only a third so not sure re your 51%.

Re teenagers not wanting that well then they're perfectly at liberty to get off their backsides and sort themselves out.

Most countries have longer holidays,don't expect schools to play the role of childcarer and don't moan as a society.

Yes I think all ages need a lot of holiday,more not less.As expectations / demands from school rise -even more so.

And teachers need it too.

My 14 and 12 year olds have been out with friends at the river mostly. The pair of them are (mostly) relaxed and happy and glowing with health. Both of them also taking the opportunity to have some long lie ins...

PhoenixUprising Wed 31-Jul-13 08:42:10

If kids need 6 weeks downtime then it suggests there is a problem with schools. A big problem. The answer isn't more holidays. It's a more balanced term time.

My points are nothing to do with working mothers (mothers? Really?). The 51% was in response to you saying holidays were good for the majority of children. 51% is the majority.

I don't know how you know holidays are good for the majority of children. But I was really saying if they're good for 80% and bad for 20% is that ok? Or if they're bad for 30 or 40 or 49% is that ok?

I don't think it is.

Growlithe Wed 31-Jul-13 08:44:57

Phoenix what are you and your DCs doing all day at the moment that is so grim? I'm all for having a positive attitude towards enjoying school, but all this negativity about not being in school seems so depressing. sad

There are too many variables to say one way or the other.

There are factors for us that mean DS1's school mates are miles away. I don't like the assumption he is lazy-he isn't. He plays for 3 football teams but that all stops in the summer. Soccer School Summer Camp finishes at 13.

Two years ago we never saw him in the Summer, he spent all day at the park but things have changed.

PhoenixUprising Wed 31-Jul-13 08:47:13

teenagers should sort themselves out?

But how can they when we treat them like children? They have no money. They can't drive. Very few places would take them as a volunteer. Very few places need a volunteer for 6 weeks.

There lives during holidays is very much like someone who's unemployed.

6 weeks is such a long time. We'd never expect adults to do nothing for 6 weeks. Why not?

MrButtercat Wed 31-Jul-13 08:47:17

And yes most non wealthy parents of teenagers I know don't see them.They're off happily amusing themselves.

This thread is just making me feel crap now.

MrButtercat Wed 31-Jul-13 08:50:20

Sorry but many don't view the holidays like that.I found masses to do on zero budget,no car.Ditto the teenagers of friends now.You can take a bus anywhere round here as a teenager for a £1 to start with.

What you describe is an attitude problem.

Mrsrobertduvall Wed 31-Jul-13 08:50:42

Phoenix...is there a Specific reason why your son is not enjoying the holidays? Is he not seeing his friends?

I will wake DS1 up and put him on a bus somewhere then.

MrButtercat Wed 31-Jul-13 08:52:55

Alternatively they can get on a bike/walk.

Sparkling don't feel crap,they are responsible for amusing themselves surely.If you advise and give them experience of this surely they'll get better at it.

Mrsrobertduvall Wed 31-Jul-13 08:55:02

Free buses for teenagers here.
I have to say ds 14 spends a lot of time on buses.

I do reading this though MrButter. DS1 is quite happy though, seeing his mates occasionally, playing with DS2, etc. He is absolutely fine, although having his school friends nearer would be better. We get round it by driving him/them about.

He isn't outgoing by nature. I am working on him to join the Air cadets at the moment, he is weakening slightly.

PhoenixUprising Wed 31-Jul-13 08:57:58

MrsRD - my son doesn't have any real friends. Although he does have kids he hangs out with at school.

But the specific reason why he doesn't enjoy the holidays is because there is no routine and no point to them. There is nothing at all he needs to do for the next 6 weeks.

And that is demotivating and depressing.

He can walk into town for free. But what would he do there?
14-16 hous a day is a lot to fill.

He is totally disempowered as a young teenager in today's society.

EeTraceyluv Wed 31-Jul-13 08:59:57

Hang on...why are people giving their children worksheets and suchlike to do over the holidays. Have I been doing it wrong for the past 20 years??!! I've never ever done anything like that - just let them read, write, draw and do what they enjoy - none of them have ever gone back having forgotten everything they learned confused

tumbletumble Wed 31-Jul-13 09:01:51

I'm loving the summer holidays, but I do appreciate that it's harder for working parents / older kids. I'm a SAHM planning to return to work in a year (when youngest DC starts school).

juneau Wed 31-Jul-13 09:02:31

We have eight weeks, not six, and DS1 has been off for three weeks. It's actually quite easy most of the time and I love not having the mad morning rush - I actually slept until 7.11am today!

We have a play date or some kind of outing most days, we've been into London a few times to meet friends or go to a child-friendly museum, we're doing a summer reading challenge and an online maths program to keep his skills ticking over, but his handwriting has suffered already so I must get him writing more or I don't think he'll be able to write at all by Sept. I think the key is to keep busy and have plenty of things in the diary, but reading the posts by those with older DC fills me with dread for when they're older, bored and harder to entertain.

PhoenixUprising Wed 31-Jul-13 09:03:15

My kids amuse themselves all day. Doesn't mean long holidays are a good thing.

They never say they're bored. They say they wish the holidays were over and they were back at school.

Because then they'd have more fun, be more fulfilled and less anxious.

MrButtercat Wed 31-Jul-13 09:04:48

But don't you see Sparkling it's a skill and he's still a child(albeit an older one)so needs the practise.He isn't going to be brilliant at it from the start as you let him go gradually.

My 3 are up so got to fly for now.

Growlithe Wed 31-Jul-13 09:07:05

Don't lads just take a football down the park anymore and see who's there to have a game with? Or was that just Liverpool in the 70s/80s? I never saw one of my brothers (and my sister for that matter) because of this.

My older brother (naturally more introverted) was sitting in some kid's front room with his guitar, or a load of lads were in ours.

The common thing here is they had an interest. I didn't particularly but still just sort of hung around with my friends.

Our parents didn't have the money to take us out much, and we were all different ages so it wouldn't have worked anyway as we got older.

I agree a lot of this is just down to attitude.

Mrsrobertduvall Wed 31-Jul-13 09:11:09

That's a shame Phoenix.
My dd 16 is a bit like that...loves the routine of school,really looking forward to sixth form. But she has lots of friends who all live within a 15 minute walk to hang out with and has done theatre/singing workshops.

Ds 14 would prefer 20 weeks school/32 weeks holiday......he loves the holidays. But he plays golf, cycles every day for about 30 miles and spends the rest of the time watching the Simpsons.

MaryKatharine Wed 31-Jul-13 09:12:40

I am already struggling and mine have 8wks off! We're not struggling financially but I still find it incredibly hard.
I have 4dc from 9.5yrs down to 2yrs. DH works long hours and tomorrow is off to NY for a week so I won't even have someone to vent to in the evenings. I find it very difficult getting out and doing stuff with all 4 esp as our youngest has some additional needs.

I struggle with what to do with them all. Can't go swimming as not enough adult supervision from the pool's POV, the park is good but can't do that everyday and it is heaving in the summer hols. We have no family at all so no lovely few days at GPs. I just wish I knew how to get through it. Doesn't help that the kids are all so different. DS1 would love to visit museums and stuff (me too) dd1 would rather pull her own teeth and the younger two would just be bored and ds2 would struggle. This would mean that the quality time I'd love to give ds1, just looking and talking about the stuff wouldn't be possible. sad

I am very envious at all the posters on here who have a wonderful, carefree summer.

Mrsrobertduvall Wed 31-Jul-13 09:14:27

Yes Growlithe...interests are key.
I never really had them...loved reading...whereas the dcs have either sport or music (we often have a house full of 16 year olds strumming guitars )
Dd has joined the local gym for 3 months, and is there every day.

PhoenixUprising Wed 31-Jul-13 09:16:29

It's not about attitude. It's about whether or not it's a good thing to have nothing that has to be done for 6 weeks.

No one here has linked to any research either way. So I still have no idea what the benefits are.

The point of going to school is to learn. What are the point of holidays? And does it require 6 weeks to achieve this?

Sure you can fill holidays with all sorts of activities. But does that make holidays a good thing?

If you designed a new school system from scratch, would it include a long summer holiday?

Mrsrobertduvall Wed 31-Jul-13 09:19:42

So much harder with younger dcs who still need looking after..it will get easier MaryKatherine as they get older.

I enjoy the summer holidays now as I can do my own thing...spent 5 hours at the V and A yesterday on my own. Bliss.

I used to plan each week methodically when they were small, offloading them to friends for a day (and returning the favour), trips to library, park, occasionally further afield. Loathed swimming and the cinema.Never did theme parks or anything costing exhorbitant amounts of money.

Periwinkle007 Wed 31-Jul-13 09:22:18

I think all countries have a long holiday at some point so whilst yes it may be a hangover from helping in the fields or something I think there must be a good reason for it.

I do think there is a certain skill involved in learning to occupy yourself or just 'be' to be honest. yes bumming around doing nothing can be detrimental I am sure but I think perhaps this is when they need to find their own interests and hobbies and decide how they could fill their day. go for walks, read, do craft, kick a football around, go jogging, gardening, try something new like painting, tinker around with things, make a go kart or skateboard or something, knit, cook - they could cook dinner for the family learning some useful skills as well as a sense of pride in having achieved it, sew, write a story, study an encyclopaedia, chat to friends and so on. Learn to give themselves a routine if that is what they are happier with.

oddly senior schools seem to get quite a bit more holiday than primary schools where we are now which I am not sure is the right way round as I think the younger ones need the break more.

Growlithe Wed 31-Jul-13 09:24:08

Phoenix the attitude comes in when you are creating things that have to be done.

All this woe because you've got 6 weeks to fill with no routine. You have got a routine - breakfast, lunch, tea. There's your routine. Now you just need to stop worrying about whether it's a good or bad thing and help your DCs fill up the time between meals.

MaryKatharine Wed 31-Jul-13 09:31:43

Thank you, mrsrobertduvall. The guilt is horrendous! I feel like the childhood of my wonderful ds1 is slipping away and I can't manage to give him any quality time due to having 3 younge children, one with additional needs. I hope he understands.

notso Wed 31-Jul-13 10:00:42

I am in a similar position to you MaryKatherine my DC are 13, 8, 2 and 1 finding something everyone wants to do is virtually impossible.
Going anywhere by bus or train is hard with the double pram, if I could guarantee I wouldn't have to fold it then I would be more confident but from past experience the routes we use are really busy.
DD the eldest just seems to stay in her room.
What I find difficult is that DD can't just go to a friends or be called for as I used to do. Everything has to be pre-arranged with numerous texts and usually has to involve money and doing something.
The hanging out chatting we used to do is now done over facetime.
DS1 would be allowed to go to the park or ride his bike around the block etc but none of his friends are. Not one of his 8 good friends are allowed to do anything without total supervision.
We invite friends round but I seem to spend the whole time trying to keep my 2yo from annoying the friends.

PhoenixUprising Wed 31-Jul-13 11:37:45

Growlithe - this thread asked the question do you think 6 weeks off for kids is good? I say no.

This is absolutely nothing to do with whether or not they enjoy it, whether or not I enjoy it. I don't think 6 weeks break are a good thing for kids.

I'm trying to debate the topic.

There is no woe is me. Whether or not I'm unhappy has nothing to do with my position. Nor is my kids happiness.

Periwinkle has proposed a reason why holidays are good. I think it's an interesting point but by and large not possible. By and large kids don't have the resources to find out what interests them. They're very, very constrained by what they can do in the holidays.

All the psychology studies claim that people are happiest when they are challenged, but not too much. This is why people want a good career, and why kids enjoy school.

And why finding ways to pass the time when you're on holiday feels so unsatisfying.

We don't tell adults to do nothing for 6 weeks. So why do we tell kids?

There really is something screwy going on.

Fraxinus Wed 31-Jul-13 12:02:28

if kids need 6 weeks downtime then it suggests there is a problem with schools. A big problem

Hello everyone, sorry I have been off line, what a lot of interesting responses.

I think what phoenix said ^^ is really interesting. I started this thread in raptures of how different my kids seem since the holidays began. Like glee geek 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

I wish everyday life allowed my children to be more themselves.

mam29 Wed 31-Jul-13 12:23:38

I think some kids have lost ability to amuse themselves as used to very structured activities

holiday clubs
after school clubs.

I try ad organise the kids the toys at home by type in boxes.
also zone some toys in specific rooms.

i set up a craft box before holidays paper, crayons playdough.

Thats not amused them like I thourght it would
they bored of tv and we have sky lots channels.

I got out the mr potato head box and block box that worked with younger 2 for short while age2 and nearly 4

But 7year old no shes bored!

then i put those boxes away and little boy played with vehicles box and tea set.

Both girls work better when doing planned structured activity with supervision, my house looks kike a tiop every room they go into.

most sahm cant afford holiday clubs.

2year old has chicken pox cant go park.
rained here so gardens out.
hubbys working.

I like not having schools runs but worrried we only had 1 week so ar as they broke up last wed.

wanted to do something hubbys day off but hes so busy hes not having a day off this week.

food shopping a nightmare with 3kids inn tow.

trying to be positive I love spending time with them but keeping them amused is afulltime job.

Growlithe Wed 31-Jul-13 12:36:01

Phoenix, TBF this thread is in the Primary Education section, so is not specifically about teenager, so the debate does have a bit of a different focus, illustrated by the OPs latest update, which shows to me that younger children do need time to relax because school can be very tiring for them.

However, I would suggest that a longer holiday could be useful in your own case. You rightly say that a child needs to be challenged up to a point. But is school really the only place where a child can be challenged? Does a child need to earn to challenge themselves outside of a structured situation, to become more self motivating?

A one or two week break wouldn't necessarily do this, as the child could potentially spend that amount of time in front of the tell or the Xbox if that way inclined, but for longer holidays that would be unbearable and so the child is almost forced to find themselves a more worthwhile challenge.

I think that the 6 week summer holiday is good for kids.

It does help that I have the same school holidays, so there are no childcare worries. I try to find a balance between organised activities eg swimming lessons, trips out for the day etc and time to just relax and hang out with their friends. We are lucky that we live in a rural village so they have friends living nearby but it is safe enough to go to the park etc without an adult.

They seem to have the space to be themselves during the holidays, they always seem to grow in maturity.

Periwinkle007 Wed 31-Jul-13 14:13:34

I think they need more than a couple of weeks to learn to a) get bored and b) how to deal with that themselves. Ok so if they are little they can't deal with it completely by themselves but imaginations are seriously depleted in many children nowadays. their little lives are so planned out and so much of the activities they do are thought out for them. remember when we had to imagine a toy train made a noise or a toy telephone was just literally a bit of wood so we used to use our imaginations to turn it into the real thing. We used to have a rug and we pretended it was a flying carpet and it could take us anywhere. The kids book "Beryl's Box" is fantastic about how 2 little girls play with a box, one has just a box and is very happy with it, the other has every toy she can imagine wanting and is bored but she learns how to have adventures with the box too and then just wants a box not expensive toys. Everything now interacts, even look at how schools entertain them in wet play. we used to get given paper and pencils etc, they sit and watch a DVD. My playschool never put the TV on because there were only children's programmes for such a short time during the day but now preschools often let them watch tv for part of the session. They are losing the ability to think for themselves. To make a den or a tent or a playhouse, to grow vegetables (assuming you have a yard or garden but even in a flat you could grow herbs on the windowsill, to design different varieties of paper aeroplane, to work out what makes it go faster and why, to do sciencey stuff themselves and so on. (hubby told me once he used to make gunpowder as a teenager but luckily never learned to compact it!) He has always tinkered with DIY type things and his mum certainly didn't teach him and his father was dead so he just did it himself.

I see the length of the holidays that the first week they want to crash out and just veg a bit watching some TV and not doing much, then they get their energy levels recharged and want to start doing things but can't think what, too much choice or not enough, then in about week 3 they must start to reach a balance of occupying themselves, using their imaginations.

If they gain these skills as children then when they get to being teenagers and young adults there is less chance they will be hanging around on street corners complaining that noone has given them anything to do, they will be confident that they can find themselves something to do, that they can challenge themselves to rebuild an old computer they found at the tip or something. They will be more resourceful and will probably, ultimately go further.

Some children really seriously do not have the opportunities for this or the guidance or role models which is where youth clubs and other activities play a part, the scouting/guiding movement I think teaches a lot of these skills. they aren't for everyone but they do help teach a certain level of resourcefulness and how to occupy yourself.

I should add though that by saying often kids lives are so planned out they don't get a chance to think for themselves I am not saying holiday actvities/summer school things are bad, not in the slightest and in many cases they are absolutely vital in terms of childcare and keeping children safe. They can learn just as much from these things as they can from being at home but I do think they need a certain amount of time to just be themselves.

Elibean Wed 31-Jul-13 16:26:33

I agree, though 4-5 might do it. It's the experience of a break thats long enough for a child not to be able to quite imagine the end of, iyswim.

I actually think at least 4 weeks' change of routine and pace now and then is extremely healthy for all. As adults, we may not be able to afford to take it - but we can at least try and provide that kind of break for our kids.

2 weeks is not at all the same. I bet if someone tested the cortisol levels, or whatever (non scientist here), it would take 2-3 weeks for them to drop to truly relaxed levels.

Time out for relationships that have got too intense, time out for overloaded brains, time out for sleep, time out to try things one never tries in the rat race of timetables and deadlines.

Personally, as a child and as a teen, I always found the summer break would bring a depth of change, creativity, and renewal - though I couldn't have expressed it as that, at the time.

sheridand Wed 31-Jul-13 17:01:57

I think everyone needs it. Parents, teachers, and kids. As a teacher, I needed it to refuel, to plan, and to gen up on new A2 syllabus, and yes, to rest! As a parent, I need it to have a break from going "Come on! Come ON! COME ON!" in the mornings and making everything a rush. In jammies till 10am? Huzzah! As kids, my two, (aged 5 and 6) need it desperately. They're KNACKERED by July. They're whiny and tired and no longer learning. They are timetabled out. They've lost the ability to just "be". Now, after a few days of just sleepy whining, however many days in we are, they spent the morning with a few friends round, and for 4 hours so far this afternoon, they've been playing in the gravel and mud with a hosepipe, making dams. They can do this for hours. Whilst doing that, they've learnt about water properties, physics, amused the dog, and relaxed. They will go to bed filthy and happy, happy to have played for longer in one day than their usual school week schedule allows. I love seeing them blossom over Summer.

Yes, there's fallback, maybe, with reading. They are still reading, and writing ( we keep Summer scrapbooks) but they're mostly just playing, and long may it reign.

My school is considering a 4 week Summer break. As it's high incidence school meals, in a deprived area, and with poor parental literacy, it probably does make sense in terms of fallback for the intake. But I will miss the long Summer.

Being bored is part of it: It takes a certain amount of boringness to get your brain working imaginatively. I recall Summers making complex Sindy mazes and cities out of cardboard and grass cuttings. My two are planning on making a city of junk, our shed is FULL of crap for them. We also have 40 lemons for a lenmonade sale at some point and a dog who is willing to be walked to death. Happy days.

Elibean Wed 31-Jul-13 17:31:17

sheridand Junk cities and lemonade sales? Yep, I want to live in your house grin

sheridand Wed 31-Jul-13 20:16:01

There is no easier task in the world than giving your kids a crate of lemons, a bag of sugar and some water. It takes them hours to squeeze the lemons, dissolve the suggar and mix it. You can kick back and supervise. It's joy!

And junk modelling: superb. Just mix up a ton of PVA glue with the paint and it goes sort of waterproof-ish and shiny. I allow them a quarter of the garden each Summer to destroy/ create. Last year it was just massive holes but this year it's cities out of junk. As long as you're not too precious about paint on your grass, it's an easy activity to watch!

Last year my best one was putting a bit of paint and food colouring into buckets of water, giving them a big paintbrush, and letting them paint the house. Hours of fun, while I sat in a chair with a glass of wine. I'm all about the ease of effort!

Elibean Wed 31-Jul-13 20:21:02

Paint the house? Your house? shock Respect!

I don't think I could relax while our whitewashed house turned purple, but I definitely go with the junk modelling. On a smaller scale, usually, but still - dd1 always has her nose in a recycling bin and wants to be a designer.

I love the lemonade idea - will try that. Thanks.

Elibean Wed 31-Jul-13 20:21:37

blush slight divergence from thread topic...

pointythings Wed 31-Jul-13 20:48:45

We're in week 2, mine are just starting to unwind. We pay for holiday childcare, are very lucky that it's subsidised through DH's work and very very high quality. They are so much more relaxed and less tired, they need the long break in the summer.

The DDs usually start talking about wanting to go back at the beginning of week 6.

sheridand Wed 31-Jul-13 21:07:38

Elibean: the genius is that the food colouring washes off brick! (after several downpours) No wiping down required. Don't do it on stucco or pebble dash though!

Periwinkle007 Wed 31-Jul-13 21:10:12

mine paint the patio with water and it just dries clean

sonlypuppyfat Wed 31-Jul-13 21:16:54

When they were little we did the park library thing but what do you do when they are teenagers, when they want to go out with their mates and want money.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Wed 31-Jul-13 23:31:26

periwinkle i totally agree with you about boredom and creativity. Not from scientific research but in my own experience as a teacher creativity is on the down - and hard to put back in later. It worries me that so many don't know how to occupy themselves. I'm lucky that i get the holiday too and i'm not bored, the change of pace is doing me good, schools nowadays are intense for all involved and we all need a break from that to rediscover what we like doing. It's nice not to rush the kids away fromwhat they want to do.
Mine like chalk on the patio, multicoloured and washes off in the rain, they've been setting up a cafe and writing up the price list for their plastic food...

Elibean Thu 01-Aug-13 13:33:16

<takes notes> food colouring, chalk, lemons. I'm going shopping.

There are some fantastic workshops around here for teens and pre-teens, the dds are desperate to be old enough to do them - run at a local Arts Centre. Everything from Street Dancing to designing Avatars to recycling sculptures (!).

Mine are starting to read because they want to - after refusing to look at a book for a week. And (finally) learning to ride bikes. And doing art workshops, jumping in paddling pools, and designing weird cartoon characters confused

sheridand Thu 01-Aug-13 16:03:29

Weird cartoon charcaters is great! Have you got a camera where you can take shots and then run them together? Make a film! Plasticine models do well as well. Thankyou, Artzooka guy! Bike riding is fab once all your kids "get it". I can now cycle to the next village along through footpaths and cycleways and take a picnic to the river. It takes a whole day and is free. As they get bigger things get so much easier, but when they are not toddlers anymore (which are fairly well catered for, I find), and not yet KS2, they get a bit lost. There's really nothing much for KS1 where I live, you have to make your own fun. Todays big hit has been quid plant misters from the pound shop. Tommorrow, I'm going to make sugar syrup water trails on the patio and see if we can get the ants to go through a twig maze to get it. Kind of gross, but i'm hoping it will be fun, as long as they don't choose that day to go all flying ant on me. What I really need is a stream shallow enough to dam. That can fill a week!

Periwinkle007 Thu 01-Aug-13 17:01:16

plant misters are a great idea Sheridand. like the twig maze idea too but I fear I have just killed off lots of our ants because they started flying into the house so I boiled the kettle and dealt with them - oops.

today we have been to the shops (had fun calculating how many mini boxes of cereal packs we would need for our week away if 3 people have one every day), library (again - the 5 year old is doing book track so has to read 100 books. she is reading 4 a day so we have to keep going back as to get them logged she has to tell a librarian all about them. She only started it last week and her confidence in discussing the books with the library staff has rapidly increased which is brilliant, certainly the incentive of stickers and badges at certain points along the way is encouraging her to read otherwise I don't think she would be). they have played with some wax strip things my mum bought cheap in TKMaxx and you can model things out of, we have had jewellery, candy canes, a fish, a pyramid, flowers and more.

must get some more chalks, the last ones got left out in the rain and disintegrated.

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