Half terms, love them or hate them, they’re here, they’re queer, they’re here to stay. Admittedly, that sounded cool as I typed, not too sure now I’ve read it back. Anyways, Half term…if you have more than one child, then you are already fighting against the odds. If they outnumber you, you need a concrete(ish) plan to get through this week if you want your nerves intact by the time you return to work, or your everyday life!
My kids infuriate me by breakfast; the smallest most ridiculous thing such as running out of their favourite cereal is enough to upset the balance of a harmonious day. I don’t need, nor do I want to deal with a sulky kid, and prevention is key, so make sure you stock up on all food and snacks for the week! Be organised. Food, snacks, drinks… AIR! Make sure everything is in order so they have nothing to grumble about.
Plan in advance. Car trips can be fun, but more importantly, anything to get them outside of your home is essential if you want your space to remain tidy. I like a tidy home and in order to keep it tidy I make sure everyone is out of it as often as possible, especially during half term. The kids, the husband, the cat. All of these folks create random mess that I have to tidy up. I don’t need that stress, I have enough to do besides tidy crap all day everyday. Get out, stay out as long as possible so my house looks and smells clean.
Speaking of mess, kids and food, snacks in the car can be disastrous if you don’t think ahead. You need to think like you’re sending your kids on some kind of space mission and be prepared for all eventualities. Food plus kids equal mess, multiply that with your nerves as lady X judges you for the state of your child equals stressed mama. You don’t need that mathematical conundrum, you can avoid crumbs, spills, dirt and mess. Wraps make the best kinds of sandwiches, they don’t create crumbs. Crumbs get everywhere, all over the car, all over kids laps and faces. Avoid arriving to your destination looking like grubby sloths (I blaaaaddy hate sloths). Water can be spilt without creating smells, stains, or stickiness. I don’t really need to convince you about that one. Finger foods such as sweet peppers, cucumber, and carrot sticks are mess free – the only thing they may make is a sticky residue, but nothing that a baby wipe can’t fix! And lastly, raisins…no mess there, easy to eat and your kids will get that sugar fix that they may crave. BOOM. Snacks sorted.
Cinemas can be quite costly, however, if you plan ahead, most replay old movies during half term at a reduced rate. “Kids Club” or “Kids AM” showings of films usually cost £2.50, and this includes adults. Bear in mind that they’re usually in the morning, so if your kids are like mine, they’ll be “starving” even if they ate half an hour before. Take snacks!!! I’m tight, I admit it. I’d prefer to take snacks and save the money for something else during the week. I’ll pack (sneak in) popcorn, sweets and juice, and save about £20. BOOM, kid’s are happy and so am I, even if it means sitting through some animated emotional tale of woe.
If your kids have school friends that they like to hang out with, the half-term may be the time to take advantage of that. People like breaks, parents like breaks, I like breaks! If you can cope looking after someone else’s kid as well as yours for a couple of hours, then they could return the favour! This means bonus free time for you to rejuvenate, restock your energy levels and be strong enough to battle any tantrum that comes your way. BOOM. Super parent status.
Craft days. No kid can resist getting dirty on purpose. As I said, I like a clean house, but I will forget that for an afternoon of glitter, paint and playdough. Prep an area and let your kids go wild with all types of messy media, it’ll keep them occupied and happy for as long as you keep your thoughts to yourself. Paint splodge on the floor? Never mind, you can clean that. Glue in their hair? Dunk ’em in the bath later. Glitter in cracks? Ok, well, yes, you’re doomed. Those glittery bastards will be there forever. At least they’re pretty and sparkly.
Save computer games for your moments of weakness. Those moments when they have frazzled that last nerve that you had when you felt like Superwoman (or man) and you just want half an hour to chill with a cup of tea or something stronger. Computer games are your tag team partner. Tap out when you need to and send the kids to veg out in front of the screen. It will only kill enough brain cells that you can replace by getting them to read for an equal amount of time.
Lastly, stay strong. You are the ultimate warrior and hopefully, by now you know your kids well enough to know what they love and loathe. The main goal is to get through the half term without losing your marbles and maybe provide your kids with opportunities that will lead them to have a good time.
Plan it out, feed them, let them play… if you follow those rules, you will survive half term!