Wednesday 20 July 2016

Summer time and the living is...

Before the school holidays I like to plan ahead and have some idea of what to do with the boys to keep them busy. I have to have something in mind otherwise I can get into a panic about how to keep them from being bored and running riot around the house. It appears I'm not alone in my worries and in research carried out by Fellowes* they found out what stresses parents the most about school holidays.

Unsurprisingly top of the list of worries is the cost of keeping children entertained during the long break. That and how to manage disruption to daily routines - are concerns I can identify with. I have a few rules about how to manage including getting the boys to decide if they want a lazy day or an active one. As it's been so hot this week we've had relatively low key days so far. I took them swimming this morning to cool them off before the heatwave set in. Yesterday we did one of my favourite low cost art activities:
The Big Picture
You know when you receive a package and it's filled with packaging material ? Well I unroll it to see if it's worth keeping and if it is brown paper I keep it in a box for rainy days and indoor fun. I lay it on the floor - or in this case on a long table - and put crayons, coloured pencils and pens in the middle. The boys have plenty of space to draw and/or write and it keeps them quiet for, oh minutes. Big pictures don't have to be kept, they are just fun to do.

One of the other worries in the survey was keeping the house clean and tidy during the holidays. As someone who is constantly trying to declutter and tidy my home I struggle with this one too. I try to be a bit laissez faire with the house during the summer, but I do expect a level of respectable tidyness. The playroom is going to get trashed - I accept that. I do have some chores that I like to get done and the boys have jobs to do too.
Printable planning sheets
These printables from Fellowes enable me to plan ahead with the boys and when I laminate them they are wipe clean and reusable too. If possible I can also try and build in some time for myself so that it isn't all too much. Managing time and workload can be tricky during the holidays, but it's important to make child free time to keep me sane.

At Britmums Live a few weeks ago I was chatting to the lovely folks on the Fellowes stand when I admired the laminator they were demonstrating to show off the free printables they have online. I am looking forward to having a play with mine and using it to prepare these wipe clean printables for the boys to write / draw about days out during the holidays. We're also going to laminate some special pictures and certificates from school. The world is our laminating oyster ! 

I know the key for me is planning ahead and doing all I can to ensure that the boys are kept busy and occupied. I'll let you know how I get on !

For now take a look at the top ten things that parents stress about and hopefully feel better about yourself :)

Summer Stresses
Having the money to entertain the family
Keeping a child/children entertained
Juggling work with childcare
Keeping the house clean and tidy
Being able to get time of work when wanted/needed
Disruption to daily routine
Maintaining a good work/life balance
Finding time for yourself
Managing hay fever/allergies
Travelling with the family

*Fellowes surveyed 1003 respondents with children aged 4-8 years.

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with Fellowes. 

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