Surviving the half-term chaos! 4 useful tips to help you get through!

Has that feeling of anxiety set in yet? That nagging worry of half-term juggling every parent dreads is very nearly upon us! So, because we know the struggle of the juggle is very real, we have complied a list of tips to keep you from locking yourself in the pantry, rocking back and fourth...

Whether you’re a full-time/part-time working parent or a stay at home parent, school being ‘out’ might feel great for the kids - “we’re free!” They scream as they run out on the last day! But these little breaks in the school year often leave us mums & dads with more balls to juggle than a circus performer. Whether it’s dropping off to clubs in new locations messing up the usual morning routine, or whether it’s spending every waking hour entertaining children at home. We’ve got you covered!

1. Meal prepping like a boss

No it’s not Joe Wicks here, and we are definitely not talking about broccoli and avocado ’lean in 15’ style food-prepping here - unless that's what you're into of course. We are talking about managing the universal struggle of having children off school who just want to eat all day every day! I struggled to keep up with constant demands for food (ahem, sugary snacks) on the Christmas break, so this half-term I have some tricks up my sleeve to help beat the hunger/boredom bug.

Online shop together: if your children are of school age, it’s fun to let them help with the online food shop *public warning - DO NOT attempt a weekly shop in an actual supermarket with your children; this activity has been proven to ruin all half-term morale & break even the strongest parental spirit* and let them plan their weekly breakfasts/lunches/snacks & suppers with you. I always struggle with interesting lunch ideas, so I will be posting on my Instagram account (@schoollinks) some successful ones throughout the week. Have the food arrive on the Sunday, ready for the week ahead.

Snack attack: I have three children, so it’s very easy to keep the peace by absent-mindedly handing over snacks each time they whine "but I’m soooo hungryyyyy mummmmmyyyyyy", this is usually 15 minutes after breakfast...but let’s be honest, snacks are neither good for your health, or bank balance. To beat the grazing this half-term, I’ve made a snack rota. This will sit on our fridge (I will also add this to Instagram) and I will encourage each child to reference the rota, check the time; a little tricky for the 2 year old admittedly, but for my 7 & 4 year old, its a good activity that supports building on the Key stage 1 curriculum of telling the time, and also prompting older children to manage their day. It also takes the pressure off you to produce multiple snacks throughout the day - win!

Offer more water: "they say hunger is 80% thirst"... now, I don’t know who ‘they’ are, or where this quote has come from, OR how accurate it is so please, take it with a generous pinch of salt (!) but it’s something my mother always use to chant to us. However, there is some truth in that children in the UK are not drinking as much water/non-sweetened fluid as they should be. To check real and accurate data, here’s a link to the 'Natural Hydration Council' who have a clear table showing how much our children should be drinking per day. To keep on top of this in my home, I keep an Ikea water jug in the fridge, which has probably been the best 4 pounds I have ever spent, and I keep it topped up throughout the day. This is great because they happily help themselves to a drink without needing me to help - another parenting win!

2. Screen time/Scream time

I am the first to admit that I am not adverse to screen time. Infact, in a digitally savvy world, I feel it is important that my children understand how to use online content/the impacts of gaming & brain development and everything else that goes with screen time. However, there is a temptation to allow them to dwindle the day away on Youtube Kids' (if you are unaware of this side of YouTube, I have linked it here), watching other children review toys' and gamers play the latest Xbox games - why do they like that stuff? Is it the equivalent of reality TV for kids' I wonder?! Anyway, I'm pretty sure it doesn't do anyone any good.

I have recently discovered KidRex, after one of my favourite bloggers mentioned it on her stories (@Luxefamily5). It is essentially a child-friendly Google and It has been brilliant for fact-finding and net-surfing for my three.

Over the half term I will put together an activity for them specifically designed to use the search engine and write up their findings - again, supporting their ICT studies. This is a great activity and can be adapted to most ages - obviously, my two year old will need a lot of hand-holding, but its never too early to start online awareness and she knows her way around an iPad better than most adults I know!

Another activity to satisfy their tech urges is to watch topic appropriate Vlogs. Let me explain:

As an example, we are leaving for a family trip to Boston in 14 days. I will task the children with finding Vlogs on YouTube Kids' with specific things to search:

"Top things to do with children in Boston"

"Visiting Haravrd University"

"Harvard University Rowing team"

"Kid-friendly places to eat in Boston"

"Flying on an A380"

and so fourth...

If you have a ski trip/summer holiday booked then this is a great activity to keep them going.

3. Old Fashioned Fresh Air

I know, you've heard it before but getting outside really helps blow those squabbling cobwebs away. Even if your children are in camps over the half-term, which are active, nothing beats running off any pent-up tensions from the day in the safety of your own garden, or if you don't have a garden then your local park.

Now the evenings are getting lighter, I will be encouraging the children to get outside while I prep dinner - a mini vacation for us both?! That half an hour of fresh air can really reset the day and make the evening run that little bit smoother.

If you are home all day and that sibling squabbling is reaching its peak, or your only child is asking you every five minutes to play another game of Dobble or read another Julia Donaldson book with 'the voices' then try to get them outside. We live near some woodland, and one of our favourite home activities is to compile a list of things to look for while we go out on a walk; this can include things like Conkers/Paw-prints/Dens/Wizard-Wand looking sticks (any Harry Potter loving child will love this one)/Dinosaur eggs (AKA Big Stones - this is very much age-depending). Again, I will put ours on Instagram for ideas.

4. You have mine and I'll have yours

It takes a village, right? It is likely that you will find another parent in your class who needs help over the holidays too, so extend that olive branch. Having a network of parents who are willing to help is honestly invaluable, especially in the holidays. Try to co-ordinate your clubs and classes so one can drop-off and one can pick-up and alternate each day. It can be nerve-wracking putting yourself out there, but honestly, we are all in the same boat and most parents will welcome a new friend!

If you spend the holidays at home, then offer to have a child over for a play - this will keep your children occupied so the pressure is off and you may even get to drink a hot coffee, or spend some much needed one-on-one time with one of your other children. Playdates are honestly some of my favourite days!

The added bonus of a playdate is it is usually reciprocated!!

So there, a few tips from us to help you all survive the half-term break. I hope you have found it useful and discovered a few new things to help occupy those busy minds!

What do you do for half-term breaks? Let me know in the comments :)

Happy Half-terming!

Gymnastics at home?

Mia x

22 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All