You’d think a horrific natural disaster had swept howling through the nation. One leaving devastation, shock and exhaustion in its wake…
Or at least if you read the social media feeds of the country’s mums and dads that’s the conclusion you might arrive at.
Everywhere they’re talking about how awful things are, how tiring, how noisy, stressful and how they’re counting the minutes until the end. But it’s not the great hurricane of 2013, or even a little flood or landslide, it’s the school holidays.
Yes, that’s right. The six (or so) weeks that the children are out of school have begun and you’d think life is no longer worth living for some adults. The way they talk about it, starting weeks ago with mounting dread and playing out on a day-by-day crawl to wine o’clock, you’d imagine they were being forced to endure a hideous torture at the hands of an evil and inventive sadist. OK, there are issues of childcare, I’ll concede, but if you’re not trying to stretch the budget to additional days in a child care scheme, what exactly is the problem? The children are at home all day mooching instead of being at school learning. That’s all.
Of course they are lolling around whining about being bored. That’s what they do. It’s probably some kind of corruption of the survival instinct now that starvation is highly unlikely. But, unlike starvation, boredom won’t kill them. And it won’t kill you either. There are dozens of ways of knocking ennui on the head – many of which don’t require much money or effort from the parent. There’s a wealth of holiday camps, clubs, classes and groups. And particularly the ones run by the local authority or charities won’t break the bank.
There’s also the possibility of hanging out with their friends/cousins/siblings, playing games with their imaginations and making up fun. If they’re unaccustomed it can take a while for this to happen, but, eventually it will. Honestly. And with it the realisation that they don’t actually need dad or mum to tell them how to fill their days.
Alternatively – and I find this tends to vastly speed up the route to self-entertainment – you can suggest some chores for your kids to fill their days. But there’s no rule that says you need to keep the chicks in the nest either. Away days don’t need to be costly or stressful. With a little imagination and a packed lunch a trip to the local beach/museum/castle/park can put a smile on everyone’s face.
Who’d have thought that spending time with your offspring might be enjoyable? Good grief. At the very least holidays afford liberation and a little indolence. There are no buses to catch, uniforms to wash or homework to supervise. This alone is worth a celebration.
The way things are at the moment a visitor from outer space (or your net savvy child seeing what you post) is likely to conclude that you loath your offspring and can’t find any merit in spending time with them. This really isn’t the case, is it?
After all there aren’t that many school holidays before your young are shuffling off into adulthood. And then what will you find to whine about? Oh yes, you’ll be really sorry you didn’t make more of best bits of their childhoods – which includes the long summer holidays.