Yes, although our sunny coast is a heavenly place to live, school holidays are often just another tough day of parenting, and no amount of sandcastles will offset the inevitable toddler battles. So, with the eight-week break looming six local parents share their secrets on how they plan on surviving the long school holidays in paradise!
I lower my expectations. A lot. After all, whenever I take the kids anywhere awesome (i.e. expensive), the main thing they remember is usually the play park and the ice cream. So I find something simple that they will enjoy, and that I don’t mind doing, and simply settle for that. After all, even average entertainment around here is still pretty good!
Our house survives just by sharing the load. We both work, so we both shuffle our hours, taking turns to handle the mayhem of home. I tend to take the kids out bike riding, whilst my wife tends to be more cultural and hit the museums or just give the kids some much-needed downtime. It’s not easy, but I try to remember that I used to love summer holidays as a kid, and I want my kids to have the same memories.
I find I have to have a plan. Those days when you don’t know what you are doing, then it’s 11am and you really need to get the kids out of the house before they kill each other? Don’t let it happen, have a plan. That, and wine.
In our family, taking turns is key. First day, Child 1 gets to choose something they like, within a certain budget. The next day, the next child has a turn. I insist that all kids take part, or at least have a go in everything that we do, which means the boys sometimes have to get involved in craft and the girls also head to the skate park. And we never do activities two days in a row. We have one day at home between every excursion—both to break it up, and to give the wallet a breather.
We particularly struggle at school holidays as we have no family nearby. So survival for us is down to play dates. Lots of them. I find having friends over stops the sibling battles, so I’d rather have more kids than just my own! Then we can trade and my kids go for a play date at someone else’s house!
We are really lucky that we have a beach within an easy walk, so a lot of the summer holiday struggles are easily remedied with a swim and a sandcastle. I do sometimes try to take them further afield—such as the zoo, or for a trip to the city and to check out the museums and attractions in Brisbane—but the beach is definitely the one thing that gets us through the eight weeks! And best of all, it’s free!
For all the great school holiday activities in your area, check out our bumper Summer School Holiday Guide!