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Is anyone else "dreading"
the school summer holidays
I feel like such a rubbish mummy to admit this but I am dreading the summer holidays as I have no idea how i will fill the many days and weeks with my 3 DC. I am a SAHM now where last year I worked one day a week and my DT's had two days at nursery but this year DT's (age 2) will be out of playschool and DS (6) will be off school and I have NOTHING planned. All the holiday clubs are aimed at working parents and I don't need/want DS to be out all day as he would hate it. He is not a sporty kids so the football schools, multi sports clubs are no good. I have had a big list of things in this area happening but nothing seems to aimed at thie age group either it is for under 5's and you stay with them and I would not be able to take DS or for over 5's and DS would not want to go on his own. He does not have any friends and the playdates we do in term time are with friends with toddlers my DT's age. I am starting to have sleep problems as I am so worried about coping with the three of them for 6 weeks. Anyone else feel like this or have any ideas on how to cope. I find it very hard being a SAHM and am scared the 6 weeks will send me over the edge.
Maybe you need to plan your weeks: Monday is library, Tuesday am is park, Weds we go to supermarket.
You need a structure for you, and they'll follow your lead!
But don't dread it or they'll just pick up on your anxiety.
Personally I LOVE the summer holidays but I do know where you are coming from. My DH works away alot for months in end and when my girls were younger, i remember thinking OMG - 6 weeks!!
Try and get all of you out at least once a day. Even if at worse its just a walk to the local shop for a pint of milk!
I do stuff like make a pic nic lunch (nowt fancy) and take the kids to the local park, the park in the next village, the park 5 miles away etc etc. Free and easy - as long as the weather is semi decent. Its actually better on a slightly cooler/duller day with 3 kids to watch I would imagine. Good parks get crammed full on hot sunny days and makes it hard to watch all the kids! Suggest going with other mums and kids to make it more pleasurable for yourself. The pic nic element for some reason makes this so much more than just another trip to the park from the kids POV! LOL.
If its really hot and you want to avoid the play park crowds, do pic nic in the garden with a paddling pool or even really old fashioned stuff like a blanket over the climbing frame/2 deck chairs etc and make a tent/den and suggest games, get the teddies out etc. Invite a friend over for your older child and hope they send an invite back meaning that another day you can just do something with the 2yos.
Pair up with another mum and suggest a day out somewhere. Zoo, beach, soft play etc.
Find out about local leisure centres, sometimes they do a weeks long course in mini football (1 hour every day) or swimming, trampoleneing etc. Check out local museums as they are free. Alot have special kids exhibitions and free kids activities on in the summer hoilidays. Save this for wet days. Libraries also sometimes have stuff on as do local shopping centres - they may have something going on. Start buying a local paper or checking noticeboards in your local town.
Start saving your yogurt pots, cereal boxes etc for wet days activities of junk modelling, perhaps plan some home baking with the kids etc.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. I rarely tell my kids what I have planned until the day before. Just in case I can't face doing it myself the next day when I wake up. Use the holidays to your advantage. Don't feel you HAVE to stick to rigid routines and bedtimes (If it suits you). Sometimes its easier to have a routine but its the holidays so you DONT have to worry about school etc. 1 late night here and there wont matter.
I try and let a certain amount of mess wash over me with and console myself that come September I can have a big springclean and clear out! Even so, we usually have one major clean up day in the holidays when I get fed up with stepping on Bratz dolls earrings and lego!
I love the summer holidays but I think you do have to be a bit organised about activity. I don't really go in for clubs. Really, it's other children they need. Other children with nice mothers. That way, a picnic in the park is great.
I arrange a picnic lunch each evening for the next day. If weather is good, we will eat it outside, if not, then at least it is one less thing to worry about.
Make up a jug of juice each morning (in one of those jugs with a lid) and set out on kitchen table with plastic cups so children can help themselves to drinks.
I save a weekly internet supermarket shop in advance so I don't have to go to supermarket.
I have a rough timetable, eg
weds - day out (my children love going for a ride on the train),
fri - local park, etc.
i love the holidays but i don't spend all my time arranging entertainment.
Over the years i have learnt that the first week is crucial.
Don't do anything much and don't respond when they complain they are bored other than to offer to help them clean their bedroom.
Days one two and three you will, I promise you, feel like killing them or yourself. After that a small and enchanting miracle occurs - they start to find things to do
Once they are in the groove - painting, making dens, digging, trampolining, dressing up the dog etc etc THEN I start putting in some days out and activities.
The more you arrange entertainment the less children find their own resevior of resources.
I am looking forward to it. I work 3 days week but can work from home.
I plan to visit various parks many, many times. The South Bank, Hormiman Museum, Bank of England etc have lots of free activities on. Spend time in the garden chilling out if weather is good. My boys love going for rides on the bus so we will do that.
Also plan to sign them up for the reading challenge at the library even though they are in reception. Swimming at the leisure centre is free for children if you register. You really don't need to spend lots of money, if any.
The holidays will be a time for the boys to rejuvenate from their first year at school.
Ours start today and they have 12 (TWELVE ) weeks off. We are only at home for the first and last ten days. Otherwise we stay with family / house sit for family members / camp. To be honest, I love the holidays as they are a break from the routine but I definitely get less time to myself.
We have a mix of me playing games with them / pool time / reading / them playing without me / time with friends / films / chores.
I agree with another poster that if you are dreading them, having a rough structure of an event per day might make it seem more manageable.
At my school the Mums usually get together and arrange weekly meet ups. Its very informal, obviously you don't have to go at all and you can stay for whatever length of time oyu like. Its usually just a local park or something - but you know that if you turn up there are likely to be others that the DCs know which makes it more fun for them. Also younger and older siblings come along as well. Why not try organising something like that before you break up, then at least there is one thing in teh diary for each week.
From what I can remember of my school holidays when I was young, mum used to tell me and my sister to play outside. We would then have to find things to do. And we soon found lots of imaginitive things.
What I am saying is that you probably won't need to engineer their every moment: let the children play. Outside hopefully!
Just by providing a few essentials like a bucket of water, and some watering cans, they can have a good time. Or put a clothes frame and sheet over (instant tent) and they should be happy for ages.
We go to the woods a lot. I read a book, boys climb trees and make dens. Baby pootles around and eats dirt.
I have planned alot of it already (geeky spreadsheet!)
holiday as soon as they break up
3 days at home
4 days with my parents
a week at home
4 days with DH's parents
a few days at home then 2 nights with my sister
in between times we have made a list of people we would like to spend time with and things we would like to do and we are dotting those through the home days.
I have asked DH to book 3 random days off work for us to have bonus family days out.
We have a National Trust and English Heritage membership. You can buy then with Nectar/Tesco/Walkers vouchers. They are worth their weight in gold imo. You take a picnic, they can run/roll around on DOG POO FREE grass and you can relax.
Also investigate church holiday clubs for your ds. Ds went to one at that age, and he is most certainly not sporty nor a joiner nor religious. He enjoyed doing all the crafts, it was just mornings for a week, and it only cost £10 in total.
Don't forget a lot of museums have free entry. We also often take some old rope and sheets to the woods and make a tent and have a picnic. This is really good if they can take a friend too, so you don't have to be involved in the building.
We have one school age child, so no siblings to cause problems, but also no-one else for her to play with. So...holidays for us means lots of friends round to play, lots of days out and lots of activities. And I'm sorry to say I absolutely love it.
We do one day each week as a casual meet up at the park with the other mums/kids in dd's class. Last year we agreed Wednesday would be the day we'd get together if we were free and it was surprising how often you could go down the park, sit and have a coffee whilst you watched all the kids playing together.
One day is grandma day and one day is trip day. We have a few days away with DD's dad, usually on the back of a business trip and a few day trips to boot. I also visit my mum a couple of times and she's 70 miles away, so that becomes like a mini holiday in itself (though who would choose to go to Walsall for a holiday I don't know).
This year I also have a tent so we can take off, last minute, and go stay different places.
I lurve summer holidays, but I do sympathise. When your hands are full and you've got 6 empty weeks stretching ahead of you, it's not an easy prospect.
Yes, National Trust membership is good. There is lots of running around space and often craft activities for your older child.
I decide which places I would like to visit over the summer, then print off directions and opening times and put them in my 'Summer Holiday' folder.
I have learned to approach the school holidays as I would approach a project at work. I would love to be one of those relaxed parents who takes things as they come, but I am an anxious type and we have no garden. A vague plan makes me feel more in control, and I am able to enjoy myself more.
Have to say, I'm looking forward to the holidays.
I love not being governed by alarms/the need to a particular bit of PE kit now etc.
Have to say it's easier as we are are a family of inveterate 'potterers' so rarely plan days out unless there's a particular thing at a particular time.
So I think it depends where your natural inclinations lie. Some people need things to be planned, some take a complete que sera approach.
I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. I have a bunch of things in mind that we could do, and then just see how everyone's feeling at the time.
The type of holiday we have depends upon wether I pass my driving test or not, which is the day before the holidays.
If I pass we will do alot of visiting parks and other cheapy day out places. If I fail, I will be ordering as much wine as possible.
I find the first week or 2 are the worst. They get bored easily and want entertaining constantly. Then we all sort of settle into a new routine and they get used to doing things for themselves. Being able to take life at a slower pace is great.
Does your DS not have any school friends that you could pre-arrange playdates with?l
We tend not to see school friends as they all live a lot further out from the school than we do, but I try and make sure we get out of the house at least once a day, even if it is just to the playing fields over the road with a football for a kick about.
this year we have organised our family holiday for the middle two weeks which should break things up nicely, and there is usually a couple of MN meet ups that we will hopefully go to. We also have family holidaying near us so will have a few days out with them as well and the GPs can be relied on to take my oldest out for the day a few times.
I know how you feel though as a lot of the toddler groups round here are only in term time and the holidays can stretch ahead like an ampty hole. Being organised is the key as others have said.
Also, I'm sure if you were doing something toddler based, I'm sure they won't mind your DS tagging along. similarly, I'm sure you could take the DTs with you to watch whatever activity you had arranged for DS.
swimming is a great suggestion, but not really do-able for a mum of three little ones without help ime; most pools have strict ratios for parent/children which is why I can't take my three unless DH is with me.
Oh yes, not having the mad morning dash is fantastic
I used to like doing a Nature Trail/ Treasure Hunt thing through the town. I would make a list for the older one, and pictures for the younger and we would tick them off when we found them. Stuff like a feather, picture of a lion, a snail, tall spire, etc.
Ice creams when we got home. Winner gets to shake the sprinkles on top.
Yes, swimming a problem with three. I have to call on a friend with an only, or swimming pool will not let us in.
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