School holidays are great. But they're also a lot of work. I don't know about you, but my laundry pile seems to triple in size when the school kids are home every day...
Before we know it, the holidays are over, and we didn't achieve all the things that we now know are important, and it's back to the beginning again.
Wouldn't it be amazing to feel like we've had the best holidays ever?
Holidays that gave us time for the things that you wanted to be important, and less to those that weren't. Days that didn't feel wasted, or rushed, or over-filled.
For me, I'd love to keep some type of routine in place!
In an attempt to keep some semblance of order in our house, and give the kids a say in what happens while they're home a lot more than usual, we created a tool for our own home that gives us the chance to plan our break.
It helps me feel like we have some normality in the day, and let's the kids feel heard. This is what we do:
1. What are we doing today, Mum?
If the kids have a specific list of things they'd like to do, we're noting them down each week, so that the next time the inevitable "what should we do today" conversation pops up, we have a stack of ideas!
We use a separate calendar, because our normal family calendar just isn't big enough to cope with the holidays!
2. Do more of what matters
It's one thing to plan activities, and it's another to reflect on how you can make these the best holidays ever!
Think about the last holidays:
When you use a "Less and More" framework, you identify those things you'd like to give a little more focus to, and a those you'd like to do a little less of. It's not about stopping that thing that's happening (Hello, Minecraft!), it's about doing it less!
(This exercise was inspired by Amanda Viviers' downloadable tool for adults called RESET, and is used with her permission).
3. What's for dinner?
I don't know about you, but my kids don't always want to eat what I make them. These holidays, we're giving them the chance to have some input by asking letting them help with the meal plans.
On the plus side, if they tell us they don't want to eat it when it's laid in front of them, I'll now be prepared to tell them that they asked for it!
4. Helping around the house
Our kids strive to get "Star Points" at school, and are very proud to show off their certificates when they get them. We're continuing this on at home these holidays with a Holiday Star Chart.
I'm not a big fan of pocket money being paid for the kids' contributing to our household (yep, I'm that mum #SorryNotSorry), so we plan to "award" the kids with one big thing (i.e. probably an outing or event that costs money!) in return for star points.
Fingers crossed, the habits will continue past these holidays!
5. Show gratitude
There's something special about reflecting on your day and showing gratitude for the great things in your life.
By encouraging our kids to write a few words about their day, we can help them to appreciate the little things and manage their big emotions.
Before you know it, it's changed from summer to winter uniform and last season's ones don't fit... or worse still: someone's lost all their bows!
- Check out your school's uniform policy for details on what's allowed this winter, then get in to the uniform shop for anything that's missing!
- Top-up or replace your school bows.
- Wash and store your summer gear separate to your winter gear, and you'll make better use of the space in your child's wardbrobe.
- If there's anything that is unlikely to fit your child in Term 4, pop it on your school's 'Buy and Sell' page.
- Pack bags and prepare uniforms the night before, so the kids are ready to grab and go on the first day back!
Grab your copy of our School Holiday Planner here - it's the same one we use in our home! It's a free download, and arrives straight to your inbox.
I really hope your enjoy your holiday break, and that taking a few moments to plan helps smooth out the craziness! Together, we can make these holidays the best ones ever!
- Nicola @ School Ponytails