So, be honest, does half-term secretly fill you with dread? Whether you’re a working parent, juggling a complex web of holiday childcare, or a stay-at-home mum/dad, wondering how to keep them entertained all week, school holidays can push every parent’s stress buttons, no matter how good your intentions. In a bid to save our sanity, we made an SOS call to parenting guru Nöel-Janis Norton (Director of Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting) who’s figured out how to not only survive half-term, but actually enjoy it… 😀👍🏻
- When forced to spend full days together even the closest of siblings can end up fighting. To avoid family squabbles, ask each child to play by themselves in a separate room for one or two half-hour sessions a day. It will ease any tension and makes them more tolerant when they’re back together. Deep breath…
- Why does being off school make them feel they’re entitled to eat their own body weight in ‘treats’? Of course we all know that sugar highs are a nightmare for both their mood and behaviour, so if you don’t fancy the kids running riot, limit them to two ‘non-nutritious’ foods a week. Experts recommend you ditch the word ‘treats’ as it’s best not to label foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, as you want to encourage them to view healthy foods such as fruit as ‘treats’ too. (Yep, apparently it’s possible.)
- Avoid slipping into slave mode. Whenever you go into the kitchen to prep dinner, get one of the kids to join you as a helper. Not only does it teach them vital cooking skills, it gives you precious one-on-one time and fussy eaters are less likely to reject food they’ve helped prepare.
- On a wet day, our Mermazing mermaid nail stickers and Superhero finger tattoos with capes will brighten even the grumpiest of faces.
- Of course it’s easy for routines to fly out the window once there’s no frantic morning rush (yay!) but resist the urge to let everyone loll in pyjamas for hours, as it’s not great for morale. Set a new routine, aiming to have everyone dressed, with hair brushed and bed made, by 10am. Ideally, try not to let them go to bed more than half-an-hour later than usual too or it’ll be hell-on-earth trying to drag them out of bed the following Monday.
- Give everyone plenty of running around time outdoors. Without the usual term-time whirl of clubs and classes, it’s the perfect opportunity to give everyone a good work-out. Having released all that energy, they’ll be far easier to manage at bedtime too.
- With no school to distract them, the screen-time battle will of course rear its head again. Decide on your limit (one or two hours max) and stick to it. Find more great tips on stamptastic.co.uk/blogs/news/parenting-hacks-nine-ways-to-win-the-screen-time-battle
- If you’ve ever fallen victim to the Sunday night homework rush, when suddenly it’s 9pm and you realise they still need to find 10 fascinating facts about WW2 and, oooh, turn it into a beautiful poster, you’ll thank us for this timely reminder. Insist they spend 30 minutes each morning on their half-term homework. The best time is straight after breakfast, before the fun stuff starts. For added wow factor, finish off your project (sorry, theirproject) with one of our cute personalised ‘Masterpiece by…’ stamps. stamptastic.co.uk/collections/kids
Good luck and see you on the other side!
Nöel Janis-Norton, is the author of ‘Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting’ (Yellow Kite), available on Amazon.