How are you keeping your monsters (sorry, I mean kids) entertained in the school holidays?
With 3 young, high-energy kids (one with ADHD) school holidays can often feel more about survival than making memories.
More and more dads are taking responsibility for the school holidays, which is excellent news for everyone.
Here are a few hacks I’ve stumbled across.
- Hide and seek – this is an amazing mindfulness activity. Having the kids silent and still for a few minutes is bliss. Savour the seeker role by mindfully counting to 100 – nice and slow – whilst breathing deeply. Then take your time to find them, maybe also taking the opportunity to tidy up the house as you go. My kids tend to prefer it if it takes more time to find them anyway. Repeat, many, many times.
- Make at-home playdough – I have a fool-proof / kids-proof recipe for made-in-the-microwave playdough. It’s great because the kids help with making it (can’t really go wrong), they dye it their favourite colour/s and then spend heaps of time playing with it. You can also make as much as you want, which is handy when you want to replace the mixed-together brown. Send me an email if you want me to send you the recipe.
- Invest in Costumes – Having dress-ups handy fills in a surprising amount of time, and channels creativity and energy in less destructive ways. Keep in mind, that anything can be a costume. My boys love being rolled up in a blanket – sometimes they are slugs, sometimes they are burritos. Either way, it slows them down, and there are big smiles on their faces. My boys also love the simplicity of a bucket helmet. Not everyone needs a Captain America costume to be a hero. Cardboard boxes are also very versatile and can be costumes or craft materials.
- Be Present – Multitasking is an absolute myth. It’s rapid task switching and the research shows that you end up doing neither activity well. Trying to work at the same time as looking after kids doesn’t work for me and I’ve found that it makes me more stressed and not my best for the kids. A better method is to give them time when I’m fully present and engaged and give myself 100% to the activity. Then after a while, I find they usually want some time to themselves or they get engrossed with an activity (like the playdough) and I can use that time to cast an eye over some work. Quality time over being half there always seems to work in our household.
- Embrace the mess – I’ve discovered that if my expectation is that we need to keep things clean or keep the mess contained, I am inevitably disappointed and grow frustrated. Alternatively, if I assume that something is going to be a Category 6 mess, I am much more tolerant and everyone ends up having a better time (including me). A bit of mess takes a similar time to clean than a lot of mess – e.g. throwing the kid in the shower, so rather than working to contain the mess to little portions, give them permission to go for it.
These hacks don’t work 100% of the time but they are definitely worth a try.
You might also like to read this other post about managing with kids at home for the holidays.