The Christmas school holidays can sometimes feel like they go on forever, and it’s not just the parents that feel that way. Many children feel unease as the structure of school life is taken away for anywhere from five to seven weeks starting in December. When you think about it, that’s actually a long time to have an unpredictable routine – it is no wonder parents are frequently pulling their hair out by mid-January. The best way to combat this frustration for everyone is to create a balanced holiday.
Firstly, try to schedule in some physical activity each day. Whether it is an early walk down by the river, a bike ride around the Regatta Centre or even just an afternoon swim in the pool or game of cricket in the backyard. Get the kids moving and burning some energy. These activities are cost effective and fun do to with friends.
Secondly, give your children ‘pyjama days’. Let them laze around doing absolutely nothing or whatever they want one or two days a week. The holidays are as much for rest and rejuvenation as they are a break from school. Hire some books or movies from the Library for free or let them play on their video games uninterrupted. Maybe even do some baking and enjoy eating the end result.
Lastly, and this is an important one, visit family and friends. Set up play dates or go to the park for a picnic. If you are working, see if your child can spend some time with a friend or if you’re home, offer for your child to invite a friend over. It is not as scary as it sounds, in fact often children will be less ‘bored’ if they have someone to hang out with that is not their sibling.
Sara Drebber is an educational consultant, teacher, writer and mother of three.