The thought of school holidays sends chills down my spine! I think this is worse since the rolling lockdowns due to you know what the last couple of years.
But, there are a few things you can do to keep the mess to a minimum. You don't need to implement all of them, but the more you can maintain structure through the holidays, the easier it will be to keep your house in order.
Pre-plan holiday activities and schedule
We recommend doing a bit of pre holiday planning with your kids ahead of time. This will help to give them the routine and structure they are used to and crave. Involving the kids in the school holiday planning also helps to get their creative and imaginative ideas flowing, and teaches them great life skills for planning and time management. It also gets them excited for the school holidays, with so many fun things to look forward to. Easy ideas are: play a board game, do a large puzzle together, set up a painting station, or get that train set out.
Encourage outside play
Make a point of scheduling outdoor play each day. Keeping kids active is important for their health and well being, and so is fresh air and sunlight. You can simply play in the backyard with trucks and diggers, have a go on the swings, play tag, or ride a bike. To mix it up, you might schedule a trip to the local playground or park. Ultimately, outside play means no mess inside!
Source: The Australian Parenting Website
Put in place 'holiday rules'
Explain to your kids there will be special holiday rules in place and the reason why the special rules are needed. You may not need to do this if you already have set rules at home, but it's also good to remind everyone about the rules. These might be that toys and things need to be put away before moving on to the next activity, or everyone needs to be dressed and ready for the day before play time.
There's also the classic reward system, such as no screen time until toys are put away, and ice cream on completion!
Prepare lunch boxes like any other day
Now I know we would all love a break from making school lunches everyday, but hear me out. Keep making the kids lunchboxes each day just like a school day. You can then declare the kitchen is closed. Having all the food prepared means you won't have to spend time preparing snacks and meals during the day. It also makes it super easy to pack up the kids and head to the park for a picnic lunch.
End of day pack up
Always, always maintain your end of day routine. Given they are home, involve them in your end of day routine by encouraging them to help put away toys, vacuum the floor, and putting away washing. If they need more motivation, use a Goal Chart to track their chores through the week and motivate with a little reward.
Involve them in your cleaning routine
If you are home with the kids during the holidays, use some of this time to get your cleaning schedule done - with THEIR help! This is also a great time to teach them how to clean different things in the home, important life skills. Many kids are often willing to help more around the house, but can only do so when they know how and are confident to do it by themselves. So use the holidays as a good time for teaching these skills.
Set quiet time
Not every kid will love to spend all day playing with their siblings. All kids need their own time and space to play and think independently. Encourage your kids to use this time to read a book, write in their journals about their day, listen to music or simply play quietly in their bedrooms or own spaces. While some kids may cut loose if left to their own devices, this is less likely to happen if this time follows a very structured day and the focus is on relaxation.
Will you try any of these tips this school holidays?