Summer SOS: Susie's tips for surviving the summer holidays
With the summer holidays upon us, I’m seeing a lot of ‘oh gosh what are we going to do for the next six weeks?’ type posts across social media. And alongside this, there seems to be a bit of a divide. There’s one camp for the parents overjoyed at the prospect of uninterrupted time with their little ones and others who find the prospect entirely daunting. There’s also been a (I personally think trite) quote banded around stressing how we’re only given 18 summers with our children so to get ‘perspective’ and grab it with both hands.
I appreciate it might be a wakeup call for some but for the rest, it’s yet more added to pressure to get out there and throw yourself into getting sweaty and doing all the things. Six weeks is pretty full on, particularly if you have a job to throw in the mix, limited funds and small children out of a routine...
With Milo not yet at school, I don’t know yet what camp I myself will fall in to, but I can imagine I’ll be teeing up ideas ahead of time to prevent the awful ‘HOW IS IT ONLY MIDDAY’ feeling smacking me in the face when everybody’s crying and moaning they’re bored. I’m already very aware my eldest needs to be kept occupied; not necessarily by anything particularly exciting but give him the impression he’s being ever so helpful and time moves a lot quicker.
So, I’ve been looking ahead at how I might tackle my own Six Week Summer and what it might entail. Maybe a couple of Big Days Out here and there, weekly local trips to something farm-y/soft play-y (exactly the kinda thing Day Out With The Kids is perfect for!) and then there’s the days out which could totally pass you by unless you hunt them out (see also: pay attention to the leaflets squished through your letterbox). We recently received a tiny pink booklet seemingly packed with stuff to do for children around Milton Keynes and the majority’s free. Theatre based, arts and crafts, role-play; there’s some really inventive suggestions which I’d have never really paid attention to before. Our local garden centre’s got its own beach with activities, our village has a lido tucked away (who even knew?) and our gym has a pool side bar which we’ll of course be making much more of a deal over the next few weeks.
I think we sometimes worry our day to day ‘normal’ isn’t enough for small people who enjoy excitement but with a bit of planning, I do genuinely think the weeks can be juggled quite nicely. I remember actually just really enjoying the not-being-at-school element when I was younger; sure, the swimming trips and excursions were something to look forward to, but knowing you could watch cartoons until 10am or leg it to the park for a lunchtime picnic was just as smile-inducing and it’s those things I remember more. With the sun not going down ‘til about ten blooming thirty these days, Milo’s latest favourite thing is to eek out bedtime to as late as he can, so we’re trying to embrace having less time to ourselves as a couple in the evenings and having him thoroughly enjoy Scooby Doo and bug bingo at 9pm. There’s also magic in some of the smaller things we as adults take for granted; Milo adores picking out a fish from the fish counter for dinner, toasting marshmallows on our chimnea and he could spend all day on the trampoline in the garden (my pelvic floor however, not as much of a fan).
I genuinely do hope parents aren’t giving themselves a hard time in the lead up to Kid Freedom, there’s plenty of worry we’re not doing enough on the regular without throwing a big six-week void in to the mix to fill. Yes, the house is about to get a whole lot noisier (and messier), no-one’s going to get to enjoy a hot drink, but we can always try to remember it’s not about pushing ourselves to organise the big things but enjoy the everyday too.
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