9 ways to get through half term
Juggling work and children through half term? Working mum Jules May Brown explains how to cope…
Half term is looming. Already. And let’s be honest, you may be dreading the insurmountable task of entertaining small people with high expectations and limited attention spans. So here are 9 tips for surviving the week.
1. Be organised with play dates. I’m always desperately ringing around other parents at the last minute, looking for spare children. So book ahead – make a pact with a fellow mum (or dad) that you’ll have their kids over for a morning and they can return the favour. Your children will entertain each other and you’ll have at least half a day in the week to catch up on work emails / laundry / hide in a dark corner, rocking.
2. Think Old School. Remember Turkey Lurkey? I think it was only called that in Derbyshire, but it’s the one like hide and seek where you had to get back to base without being caught – heart thumping, adrenaline racing… rounders, British bulldog, what’s the time Mr Wolf? So let’s keep all those old games alive. You start them off with the rules and join in a couple of goes, then leave ‘em to it…
3. Make a Lucky Dip. My seven year old suggested this. Get plenty of treats together (the cheaper and plastic-er the better) and put them in a box with some sawdust. Get the kids to decorate the box. Use as unashamed bribery to persuade them into doing housework. It’s probably bad that my daughter operates in this fashion but hey, it’s working for me.
4. Get outdoors – even if it’s raining. Have a picnic. Go on a mystery tour. If the sun is (please God) shining and you have a garden, plant some sunflowers. Or better still, take the kids to a garden centre and let them choose their own seeds. Raised beds are cheap and easy to source online and kids love the responsibility of growing their own veg.
5. Make cakes and sell them to the neighbours. Good for getting kids interested in cooking, nurturing an enterprising attitude and fostering friendships with your neighbours – unless the cakes taste appalling.
6. Go camping in the garden. Borrow one of those tents without pegs to limit the stress levels. If your kids are old enough, let them erect the tent themselves – it will keep them occupied for several hours. Be warned, they may not be speaking by the time the tent is up (every camping trip, ever). Find the torches, get a midnight feast together and either bunk down with them or be prepared to unlock the back door when the expedition is abandoned (cold, dark, funny noises) at around 11pm.
7. Challenge them to fashion a celebrity out of household junk or old vegetables. Best one wins a rummage in the Lucky Dip.
8. Don’t feel guilty about employing the electronic babysitter. Kids love telly and a bit of TV won’t kill them. And crucially it means they won’t kill you. Pyjama days rock, for everyone. The same goes for Minecraft. I may not understand why my sweet, innocent child is yelling at the screen, “More pork! I must have more pork!” but it certainly whiles away the time.
9. Keep copious amounts of wine in the fridge. Good luck!