Eight ways to survive school holidays

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Is it school holidays again? Seriously? Didn’t the kids only just go back to school?

And so begins the end-of-term chaos as we hurtle towards the end of the school term! Projects are due, school functions are happening, there’s extra soccer or choir practice crammed in before the holidays, and the little people in our lives are asking for everything from playdates to Disneyland trips as the holidays approach.

Meanwhile, the weather is starting to warm up and we all know September could go either way…it might be cool and wet (not a bad thing, given the current forecast!) or maybe we’ll get some sunshine and a dip in the pool.

Whether you’re working or hanging out at home, here are eight ways to survive the school holidays –

1. Make a plan (yes, actually written down)
For parents in paid work, planning for school holidays requires military-level precision. Maybe your mum can have the kids on Wednesdays and Fridays, your other half can have them Mondays, and who knows what you’ll do with them on Tuesdays and Thursdays…

And for parents at home, there’s the challenge of how to entertain the kids each day, because two weeks in the house will fray everyone’s nerves!

Take the stress out of it all by creating a plan in advance, which can be stuck to the fridge. Enter all the days of the week first, then fill in everything you have to do, such as your work days and any commitments you’ve already made. Then, add in holiday care, activities and everything else around that until all the days are covered.

2. Shop before school ends
Rather than drag the kids to the shops (and spend a gazillion dollars on glitter lip gloss and a new puppy), shop ahead of time. If you need to top up on art supplies, snacks, holiday clothes or beach gear, it’s a great idea to do this child-free before the holidays begin. Head into Kmart or the cheap shop for paints and craft stuff, or order it online. Hide everything up in your cupboard, then you or the grandparents can ‘magically’ produce it when the kids start to lose their minds.

3. Set a budget and expectations
Have an idea about what you’d like to spend ahead of time so you can plan. A trip to the cinema might fit in the budget if you take your own popcorn and drinks instead of buying them. It’s a good idea to tell the kids these limitations ahead of time to avoid meltdowns. For example, ‘We can go to the beach and get an ice cream, but we are taking sandwiches for lunch, not buying chips.’

4. Add some activities
If your budget allows, book in some activities ahead of time to mix up the holidays and avoid boredom. Bayside Dance offers affordably-priced holiday workshops each school holidays. For kids aged 7 and older, we also offer an early drop-off and late pick-up option to allow you to work a full day. If your usual commute makes school holidays that much harder, try co-working at Central Business Associates for the day. We have an offer for just $15 for a co-working space when you book a holiday workshop—details are here.

These holidays, we are excited about our Holiday Fiesta workshops! Kids generally enjoy these so much, as we do craft activities, different dance styles they might not have tried, plus they get to see their dance friends if you book with a buddy.

5. Help each other out
Don’t be afraid to ask other parents if you can swap kids in the holidays to suit work rosters or just to keep them entertained. It’s often easier to have two kids instead of one (or six instead of three!) as they’ll generally keep each other busy. Let them play in the morning and pop on a movie after lunch to let them chill and give you a break.

6. Set guidelines on screen time
Make an agreement with your children about the amount of screen time they are allowed each day. If a grandparent or friend is taking care of them, make sure they are also across this rule and know how to implement it. You might have a couple of rules here, such as they are allowed two hours to play games, but can continue to use their device to play music and make up dances!

7. Have a wet weather plan
This is where your craft stash comes in handy! You can also bake cupcakes or cookies. Another fun idea for dancers is dance games. Give your kids free reign to choose a song and make up a dance, or play different types of music in short bursts to see who can do the best impro. Something else kids love to do is watch their old dance DVDs! You’ll often find they’re not just sitting back watching but they’re up dancing, trying to remember the moves or learn the older kids’ dances.

8. Schedule some time for you
Holidays can be exhausting for parents, whether you’re in paid work or not. Try to schedule in a break from the kids, even if it’s just sending them with a friend or relative to the park for a couple of hours while you go to yoga, catch up on chores (or let’s be honest here, you probably need a nap!)

Happy holiday planning! If your kids are coming to our workshops, we promise to keep them smiling, entertained and send them home exhausted.

Wishing all our Bayside Dance families a very happy and safe September holidays.

Michelle Macwhirter is a writer, marketing coordinator and seasoned ‘dance mum’ to Emily (10 years) and Isla (8 years). She worked in the performing arts industry in marketing for over ten years and is an avid fan of dance performance and musical theatre.

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