Yesterday I wrote about all the things that I love about summer holidays – both the busy, joyful moments and the quiet ones.
But as much as I love school holidays in general, and the (longer) summer holidays especially, I do get a bit nervous about having so much unstructured time with all the kids at home.
Isn’t that weird? I love the unstructured time with my kids, but it’s also what stresses me out.
I guess I worry that the kids will get bored, then I’ll get stressed, then the house will get trashed and by the end of holidays, we’ll all just end up in a big ball of chaos and angst.
So. I did what I always do when I start to worry about things…
I prayed about it, and then I took out pen and paper and made a plan.
I haven’t included my full mind map in this picture to protect the privacy of my kids, but my plan for the summer holidays has three basic categories:
- Ideas and Activities
- Home management
- Personal focus areas
Ideas and Activities
This is where I write out all the things the kids and I might like to do for fun in the holidays. For some of you, this might include special events or displays aimed at kids. For us, we prefer more low-key activities that are based in our home or where there are not likely to be large crowds.
I’ve also listed ideas for crafts to make or things to cook with the kids.
Some of these things will be for when my husband has time off work, but most of it will be done with just the kids and I.
Here’s some of the things on our list:
- baking muffins
- making paper chains
- wrapping presents for each other
- making an obstacle course outside
- water play in the back yard
- climbing a local mountain
I like to use the extra time each school holidays to tackle those jobs that fall to the side in the busyness of normal life. Those areas that have accumulated clutter or that one corner that is too difficult to reach with the vacuum cleaner normally.
The “too hard basket”, if you like.
When I mentioned this to my husband the other day, he said, “How does that work – that you have all the kids with you, but you have extra time?”
I explained to him that there’s more time in some ways – we don’t have the school drop off, pick up and associated “leaving the house” preparation to do each day. But in other ways it’s harder – sometimes the kids get a bit irritable around each other, especially if we stay in the house too much. So there is a balance to be found. But yes, there can be extra time for house work in the holidays!
Here’s some things on my list for home management:
- tidy my desk
- check the kids have the correct uniforms for next year
- do our annual toy cull
- declutter and cull my craft drawers
Personal Focus Areas
This is the space where I wrote out, for my self and each child, areas for personal development I would like us to work on during the holidays. It includes things like an attitude problem that needs to be worked out with one child. Or a practical skill that another child might be behind on.
Sometimes I think these things get left behind in the normal routine of the school term (even though they shouldn’t!), so it’s good to be intentional about addressing these things with our kids. Everyone has areas they struggle, but the key is to struggle and work through it. We don’t need to just accept that a bad attitude is just part of one kid’s personality, and some practical skills really need direct instruction.
This is kind of like a smaller, more short-term version of the yearly personal goals I set.
Here’s some of the things I’ve included for myself:
- exercise regularly
- read 2 books
- patience with the kids
As I mentioned above, I’m not going to mention specifically what my kids are working on for the sake of their privacy. These are not things I have told them they should work on, rather they are things that I try to work into the natural flow of our days.
How do you manage school holidays? Do you make a plan, or do you go with the flow?