Make the most of the summer holidays now the relentless British rain has gone away, and the sun is right around the corner.
This is the time of year when the thoughts of every parent with school-age children turn to the epic project of keeping their little darlings occupied.
At Loose Ends we love it when everybody’s having a good time, so we’ve asked business and parenting writer Rebecca Cowdry for advice on how you can keep your children happy this summer and have fun yourself.
Rebecca has two sons, Jacob (6) and Freddie (3), so she has plenty of child-centred summers under her belt.
Her number one piece of advice to parents is to know what your basic priority is.
If you’re a stay-at-home parent you’ll want to focus on finding adult company to stay sane, but throw a paid job into the mix and you’ll need enough extra help to keep schedules ticking over.
Get this side of things halfway right and you’re good to make the most of the summer holidays!
Here are Rebecca’s other tips.
- Get organised early.
Easier said than done, we know, but if you don’t bite the bullet your summer holidays can degenerate into a stressful time of juggling work commitments with child care. Have a plan in place as soon as you can. It’s bound to go awry at some point, but at least you won’t have spent six solid weeks frantically calling around family, friends and day-care for help.
- Involve the kids.
It can be hard balancing everyone’s needs over a whole summer, especially when you have children of different ages. When you get to the end of the summer holiday, it also helps to have some way of knowing you’ve got the most out of the break.
Ask the kids to make a wish list of all the things they’d like to do, and tick items off as you complete them. No need to treat this as a binding agreement, but, you never know, your little ones may surprise you with some great ideas. And don’t forget to include the grown-ups’ wishes, too.
- Remember that it’s OK to be bored.
There’s a lot of outside pressure to keep the children entertained during the summer months, but in reality this soon gets exhausting. Taking ‘down time’ to let you and the kids recharge your batteries is a great idea. And when there’s less to do, it encourages the children to be a bit more resourceful and entertain themselves for a while.
- Reconnect with nature.
We live in a beautiful country and most people are not too far from the countryside, coast or country park. Being out in the fresh air is something that appeals to pretty much everyone at every age. We suggest having a purpose to your trip, such a pond dipping, shell collecting or bird watching – you can find some great ideas here. If you don’t mind getting a bit lost, you could even let the children map read.
- Don’t feel guilty about turning the telly on.
We all like watching a good movie, and summer holidays are a great opportunity for a movie fest, especially when the weather turns cold and miserable. Why not make it a special treat? Stay in your PJs all day with popcorn and a carpet picnic, rather than feeling guilty about not keeping the kids ‘properly entertained’.
- Turn to technology and social media.
Has Pokémon Go got you yet? If not, you may not realise what fun the game can be as a family activity. In this article, Jocelyn, one of our other favourite family bloggers, describes the joys of a group Pokémon walk.
Whether you’re a born planner or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type, social media is a great way to find out about events and entertainments during the holidays. Many tourist and visitor information websites are now posting to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube, and you can share ideas with friends and get in on their outings.
Make the Most of the Summer Holidays with Loose Ends!
Of course, there’s also our very own Loose Ends app.
Use it to create your own Loose End whenever you want company, or check in with your friends to join in with whatever they’re up to.
And don’t forget to let us know how you’re using Loose Ends to make the most of the summer holidays for your children and yourself.