The Parent’s Budget Half Term Survival Guide

30 May 2013

Half term is coming. It almost has the same soundtrack as Darth Vader in Star Wars, only with more screaming and hiding gin in a water bottle. And that’s just the parents. As the days of children roaming free approach, here are some ideas, tips and suggestions to surviving half term with your kids.

First off it’s worth remembering that you just can’t trust the weather. You can’t. It’s capricious and moody and, at the moment, winter is throwing something of a tantrum. “I don’t WANNA leave,” you can hear it shouting in the cold winds, rains and weird bursts of snow. Still, there are things you can do in this time to salvage your sanity.

Hallmark suggests getting out some pens, paints, glitter and glue and getting messy. Throw a bunch of bin bags down on the floor or, if you are an organised parent, one of those plastic art sheets instead. Then throw down the paints and the pens and the glue and toilet rolls and boxes and old wrapping paper and let everyone go a bit mad.

If you’re stuck for ideas, just google Fun Crafts and you’ll soon be off and making weird things. I am a firm favourite of creating rockets out of tinfoil, glue, buttons and lids, toilet rolls, old juice and milk cartons and scissors – you need to cut out a door for the astronauts.

Board games are also a great way of bonding with your kids and also having some fun while the rain chucks it down outside. Avoid the ones that make people shouty and aim for those that make you laugh. Sure fire winners are Pictionary or Monopoly or kids classics. I am a huge fan of Ruckus too, it has come out at parties, camping holidays and all sorts of places and it always makes people laugh.

Another indoor idea is to create a makeshift dance floor, get dressed up in ridiculous clothes (if you’re brave enough, get your kids to dress you) and dance to all your CDs. I always find a CD that I forgot I owned hidden in the pile, although perhaps Bros’ Greatest Hits wasn’t my finest moment…

My daughter really enjoys making scrapbooks with old magazines so if you fancy doing something like that it can keep boredom at bay. It’s also worth making your own scrapbook using photos and memories and things that make your life special. You can keep it to share with the kids when they grow up.

If you have zero energy and couldn’t care less if the sun had stopped by in your lounge for tea, why not have a duvet day? Don’t get out your PJs all day. Ignore that voice that insists it is bad. And the one that says you should be ashamed. Instead order pizza for supper, watch movies in bed, giggle in the lounge and even use this as an opportunity to play the board games I mentioned earlier. It’s seriously awesome staying in your PJs all day.

The sun is out? Gallop to the nearest farm that’s open to the public and spend the day learning about life outdoors and the animals that live there. It’s a fantastic educational experience for the kids and you’ll find yourself unwinding too. I tend to live on my phone sometimes and forcing myself to leave it at home or ignore any emails is the best thing to do. I end up having a lovely day and the world doesn’t end because I missed one work email.

Teach your kids to cook, tidy up, fold their clothes and sort out the washing. These are invaluable skills that they will need one day and you really don’t want your kid to be the one that everyone thinks is a lazy slob. As Hallmark says in their half term survival pack – this is a good time to get teaching because housework doesn’t just go away because it’s half term.

Other favourites that I enjoy include: building a den (I did this all the time as a kid), reading stories together, going out for a walk or a cycle together and visiting free local attractions. You can keep your days busy and kids happy with all these ideas, and hopefully you will end up as relaxed as they are when the new term rolls around. Hopefully.

What do you think?

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