Today, I boldly took on a study, as my one contribution to science.
I went where no mum had gone before and undertook a study of how many times a 4-year-old could utter the word “poop-poop” in 24 hours.
To establish the extent of school holiday insanity that is sweeping across the nation of mums as we speak.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my children, “poop-poop” and all, but to be honest my adult brain begins to struggle after a few days of entertaining everyone, and even my best Play School face begins to fade.
Every school break I always have the best of intentions – we’ll spend quality time doing arts and crafts, visiting the museum, maybe take in a show … but they all go out the window when the realisation hits that they are still more interested in running around loudly shouting “poop-poop” than experiencing the finer points of culture.
(Oh, by the way, I lost count at around 47 times. I’d gone insane by that point and got side-tracked with a very important game of mini fusball).
But why do I feel compelled to fill every second with educational activities for my children?
And have I failed as a mother, if loads of “poop-poop” shouting, some backyard antics and the occasional Disney DVD is the extent of our Christmas holidays?
I personally believe that quantity time (very different to quality time) is vital for every family. All those hours spent together doing nothing much around the house is just as important as any museum trip or pottery class. Giving kids a chance to play at home provides the environment for some fabulous imaginative play, just open the dress up box and let them go! And for those working mums who are more frazzled than a NYE firework, taking some well-needed down time at home could be the best Christmas present you can give yourself.
However, we also still need to keep the kids entertained and stop the cabin fever. So for those too exhausted to travel far and wide to keep the kids entertained, here are my top tips for making the most of the holiday season:
Keep those expectations low. Starting the day announcing a trip to the zoo followed by a stop at the water park is only going to end in tears… probably yours. Aim to get out once a day for something fun, but kids are happy playing with sticks in the local park, if there is a game in it. Playdates are always a firm favourite of mine.
Check out all the local activities and make the effort to hit the ones you really want to go to. There are some fabulous events on over the break and plenty of choices for every child, but don’t burn out trying to do them all.
Relax and enjoy the break:
Spending time at home just hanging out really is OK. The Christmas break is busy enough without rushing around everywhere trying to fit in activities for the whole family at every possible moment. Find fun activities around the house that adults don’t mind playing but where kids can also develop their own creativity is key.
Some of my favourites …
- Float and Sink: Throw a stack of toys and items into a big tub of water outside. Usually just ends up as a big water fight, but it’s loads of fun!
- Make your own puzzles: draw/paint a picture, stick it on card, cut it out, then give it to someone else to do.
- Backyard cricket: Always a firm favourite in our house.
- Lego challenges: Simple, just get the lego out and name something for everyone to build. I find Lego is a great ‘around the table’ shared activity that both adults and kids enjoy, and a firm favourite of mine at Christmas when we are all having drinks and nibbles!
So, if all that time at home also must involve 47 rounds of shouting ‘who’s a poop-poop’, then I really don’t mind. After all, it might actually be fun…. “Poop-Poop!!!”