School Holiday Survival Guide

The school holidays are a great time for the kids, all those weeks of fun and games, no school, getting up late??but not for their parents! Summer vacation time can be just as much like hard work as the rest of the year. Trying to keep the kids entertained for six whole weeks can seem like a daunting task, so here are ten top tips to help you survive the summer holidays.

1. A little planning goes along way. You don't have to time everything to the minute, but a plan of the next week's events will at least mean you make sure you have the food for the picnic on the right day.

2. Don't over-schedule your children's time. Remember they need to rest, relax and recuperate so that they are ready to go back to school in September.

3. If you need to buy any items of school uniform, stationary, books or sports equipment, get it done in the first two weeks. If you don't there will be nothing left in your child's size and you won't have enough time to sew in the name tapes.

4. Try to balance each week's activities ? too many long, exciting days at theme parks in one week will leave everyone exhausted and the poor parents penniless. Alternate trips to big attractions with quiet days at home or free activities such as walks in the park, the countryside or go to a play area if the kids are younger.

5. Try not to sign them up to too many camps and holiday clubs. They actually want and need to spend time with you.

6. Involve the children in your routine and remember that your life has to go on. The shopping still has to be done; the laundry will not hop in the washing machine then hang itself out to dry. It is easy to spend so much time amusing the children that you end up trying to do the housework in the evening. Schedule your work as well.

7. Even lazy days at home benefit from a little planning. You may want to involve the kids in cooking or a big art and craft session, but if things finish sooner than you hoped it helps to have a surprise DVD or a new game stashed away ? rent them or swap with a friend to keep it affordable.

8. Stay safe ? stock up on sunscreen, insect repellent, band aids and prescription drugs.

9. Do the boring stuff like taking the kids to the dentist or the optician. So much easier than trying to book an appointment after school.

10. Late nights and long lie-ins may be a big part of the summer break, but start to get them and you back into a routine a week before they return to school. It will make it much easier for you all when the new term begins.

Good luck for the summer, and do have fun!

Jacqui O'Brien is the editor of eParenting.co.uk, the online parenting magazine with fun and advice for parents, webguides, information, kids shopping, free printable colouring pictures and free educational software to download. Visit eParenting at http://www.eparenting.co.uk


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