table football

What have you got planned for this half term holiday?

The Christmas holiday had ups and down for us.  Most days began with Pip and Flo bursting into our bedroom asking:   “What are we doing today?”.   Our focus was usually relaxation, involving doing as little as possible.  This didn’t really fit with the kid’s expectations.  After the initial novelty had worn off of just being at home rather than at school, their good mood started to wane a little.  I had a think to myself and a chat with J and we realised that the children would benefit from a framework for each day, so that they knew roughly what to expect.  After all if you, as an adult,  imagine having two weeks off work, but don’t know what you’re going to be doing at all each day from the moment you get up to the time you go to bed.  You would probably have hopes and expectations and would no doubt be fairly frustrated or disappointed if they’re not met.  Surely it’s the same for our children, particularly relevant for the over four’s I’d say.  So at Christmas, J and I had a little chat with Pip and Flo to see what they’d ideally like to do and then wrote a rough schedule at the beginning of each day.  It’s important to give children time that is not too over scheduled so we made sure there were chunks of ‘free’ time when Pip and Flo would entertain themselves.

An average day in our Christmas holiday looked like this:

9am Free time

10am Free time

11am Family game (Pictionary etc)

12 noon lunch

1pm go out for a walk/rollerskating

2pm Free time

3pm Watch a family film

4pm Finish film/free time

5pm Dinner time

6pm Free time

7pm Bed time

We all felt so much better, because, we as adults knew that we would get the down time to, read, surf the net, do the house jobs, call friends etc and the kids really used their free time well, because they felt engaged at the other times. This system really seemed to eliminate the moans of “I’m bored!” or “What are we doing now?”.  They knew what was coming and so could manage their feelings and expectations about the day.  We forgot to do this after a few days and low and behold, the behaviour and attitude reverted to that of ‘victim’ rather than enjoying each moment.  I really recommend having a rough plan for each day in a holiday from school and sharing this with your children.

The Families website has some great parenting tips on this subject.

Top parenting tips to surviving the holidays



Have you ever wondered what the suitability of the films, TV programs and computer games we expose our children to actually is?  Our children are individuals with unique combinations of interests, fears, worries, emotional make up etc.  I really believe in our children watching what is suitable for their age and personality.  I love and rely on the amazing parenting resource that is the website: ‘Common Sense Media’.  Here is a snippet from their site:

“We believe in sanity, not censorship”.

Achieving a healthy approach to media and technology can make a big difference in kids’ lives today.  Kids who learn to use digital media wisely can accomplish amazing things — learn new skills, explore new worlds, build new ideas, and change the world. Yet every kid has different needs. As parents and educators, we know our kids best.  Common Sense is here to help.  We can steer you away from things that are developmentally inappropriate, and help you find the hidden gems that are right for your family and your kids.”

It tells you everything you need to know about every film, from age rating to running time.  It gives you a break down of ‘What parents need to know’ and includes information like:

On the film Brave:

“Several intense sequences involve a large angry bear that attacks the main characters — which are even more so when seen in 3-D — and (possible spoiler alert) a possibly disturbing but mostly comical transformation of a mother into a bear. A moment when the mom-turned-bear temporarily forgets she’s human and growls at her daughter could upset younger kids.”

They have all sorts of categories of films including: Movies that inspire kids to change the world, Movies that inspire courage, TV that’s good for girls, Great role models for boys, not: “to be a man, you must be intimidating, stoic, and domineering, but featuring male characters with depth, feelings, and flaws.”

We use it all the time to check what our children want to watch but also to inspire ideas of what to watch, it’s a really informative parenting resource and website that we go back to time and time again.