How to have fun (and stay sane) this Summer
Long, lazy summers at home with the children can be magical, life-affirming things. In the movies. They can be fun in real life too, but they can also often be frustrating, expensive and stressful. If you’ve got little ones to look after as well as school-age children then it can be tricky trying to juggle everyone as well as finding time for yourself.
So this isn’t a blog about what to get up to with your children over the Summer - there’s more than enough holiday #inspo out there already. Instead this is a friendly, hopefully helpful, guide to being kind to yourself this Summer.
- There’s nothing wrong with doing nothing
The first rule of Summer Club is that you don’t have to fill every minute with scheduled activity. And what *you* might consider to be a routine might keep your slightly older children entertained. For you it’s a supermarket smash-and-grab while singing ‘Wheels on the Bus’ for the 14th time in the frozen aisle. For your older children it’s a chance to ‘play shops’.
- It’s not a competition
Who can be one of those amazing, imaginative parents every day eh? You know the ones. You’ve spent all morning in front of the telly with your tots, praising the heavens for CBeebies and onesies. Turns out your friend has spent the morning making a puppet theatre for her children. Then put it on Instagram. But console yourself with this question - has she binged on an entire series of Waffle The Wonder Dog in a morning? No, and it’s her children’s loss.
- Don’t over-cater
Is it another sandwich dinner? Not if it’s put in a tupperware and eaten in the garden. Then it’s a fun picnic! Feeding the family every day can see too much time spent in the kitchen. Ditch the hob and the guilt, whack a decent selection of grub in a container and go al fresco. The kids love it, there’s less washing up and the birds can eat all the mess. #winning
- Avoid holiday spam with the ‘off’ button
Nothing’s worse than opening up facebook and instagram in August, when sometimes it can feel like every last one of your friends have teamed up to make you feel bad about your wet week of camping by posting about their own amazing holidays. Beaches! Mountains! Yachts! Pools! Tans! Unicorns!* Don’t worry - we all get it. FOMOOOPH (Fear Of Missing Out On Other People’s Holidays) is real and we are here for you.
*made that one up but you get the picture
- Make a list
At the start of the holidays get your children to talk about the kinds of things they’d love to do, or places they’d love to visit. Write them all on pieces of paper, put them in a jar in the kitchen, and then when you’re stuck for inspiration pull one out per day and try and do it. Very important tip though. Make sure you’ve gone through them all when the kids aren’t there and taken out any suggestions that would either bankrupt you/drive you insane/end in divorce. Can’t stress enough the need to edit the list.
- Look after yourself
Looking after small children each day every day is hugely rewarding. It’s also blooming hard work. There’s nothing wrong with feeling like you need to escape once in a while. If you start feeling like you need to chalk the number of days up on the wall like you’re on a desert island/in a prison cell, it’s probably time to give yourself a breather. You’ll be a better parent for it.
- Enjoy it while you can
Someone very wise once said that the days may seem long but the years are short. Once every so often in the midst of what can feel like chaos, make sure you take a moment to enjoy being surrounded by these amazing, infuriating, adorable, exhausting, brilliant tiny people who love (more than absolutely anything else in the world) spending time with you.