I was shocked on Tuesday morning when I asked my little niece (10 years) when she would be going back to school and she responded “We are going back to school in January.” January? Well, while this will be about 2 months from now, keeping children at home for such a period is no easy task by any means.
There is no other phrase in the English language able to produce more of a spine chilling feeling in a parent than “I’m bored”. It is a phrased used more in the school holidays than at any other time.
Just when your children should be out there enjoying their youth while you toil away at work the “ungrateful” little children can often fail keep themselves busy.
Here are a few ways to save your sanity and stop your children dragging themselves round the house as if they are depressed.
If you are lucky to have flower gardens at home, allocate each of them a portion of the garden and get them to design and cultivate their own area of land. Give prizes for the best work done.
The advantage to this activity is that it can keep them occupied for days while getting them outside and away from the television.
Get the children to use their creative genius and write and produce plays for you.
Allow them access to certain props (make-up, clothes and sheets), and let them dress up and make believe. Even children up to about twelve will enjoy this, though the little ones will need more help and close supervision from you.
You can also collect eggshells, egg boxes, empty tins for the kids to use; this will actually help you save as you will not have to go shopping for toys. Give them glue, paint and free strap and see what they create.
Try making up different themes, for example: they must create something to be used in space or in the desert. Challenging and fun this will keep them out of your hair for a long time.
Let the kids take turns in helping you prepare lunch. You may teach the older children how to prepare eggs (omelet ), baking cakes or making pancakes, most are likely to enjoy it and it will help you.
Devise a clean-up competition, where the children get to clean up either the house or bed room and he/she with the largest bag (just check it is not filled with socks), gets a prize of some sort.
A vital addition to any kind of holiday fun would be mud. In all shapes and forms. Get the kids to build forts and use mud as weapons.
Stress the importance of no stones to be contained in the mud and then they can throw mud pies from the safety of their forts while trying to infiltrate the enemy camp.
If the children are going stir crazy try taking them for a stroll through the neighborhood. Or you can allow them to visit close relatives living near by. With the little kids only go for a short distance as they will tire easily and will want to stop every few meters to look at various objects.
Extend this walk to include a trip to a local church or where they can play on jungle gyms and interact with other kids.
Should finances permit, allow the children to go for computer courses, art courses, and visit tourist attractions or even travel to see new places in the country.
An afternoon at Nakumat eating ice cream will also amuse the children.
Children need the interaction of other children. Try and organize a sleep over rotation with other parents your children are happy to be around.
It will keep your child in touch with his friends, with the added bonus of allowing mom and dad a much-needed break!