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.