Do you look forward
to the school holidays or dread them?
Do you end up
spending more money than you planned?
Does your house end
up a huge big mess?
Do you tire of being
the argument referee?
Are you concerned
about the amount of screen time you r children have each day?
Well, let’s make
these holidays different!
Let’s have more fun,
spend less money, keep the house a bit tidy,
work towards promoting
sibling friendship and reduce screen time.
Have a pattern for
Try the pattern of
having a day at home followed by a day out.
Aim for one cost
event per week, with the other outing days focused on visiting parks, beaches,
rivers or a friend’s house.
Have a pattern for
Include outside play
(2 hours in the morning and then two hours again in the afternoon). Let them
use their imaginations and make up their own games to play. Have bats and balls
and bikes and skates to encourage physical exercise. Maybe once a week have
messy outside craft or painting or ‘building’ with nails and scrap wood.
play (1 hour in the morning and again in the afternoon). This gives each child
a chance to play without interacting with another child. Make this non-screen
time. Find a quiet place in the house for each child. Set some boundaries.
Books and blocks and quiet toys are best for this. Your creative child may
prefer to draw or write in this time. Leering to play independently is a great
skill for life. It also gives you a break from negotiating sibling issues.
Include table play
(30 – 60 mins twice a day). Have a set seat for each child at the table and
have a small selection of activities to choose from according to their age.
Playdoh, sewing cards, sticker books, activity books, board games, peg boards,
threading beads, water painting, sorting activities and so on.
Chores time (15 – 30 mins
twice a day). Holidays are a great time to train your children in new chores.
Having a set time for this will ensure it is done and the house is kept tidy
(well, tidier J).
Having some loud, up-beat music playing during this time can help it get done
in a set time and makes it fun too.
Family time after
dinner each night is a lovely way to end each day. Sock Wars, board games an
outside walk, a picnic supper in the back yard, charades, karaoke, acting out
Bible stories, family concerts where everyone does an item and so on. Finishing
it with a reading time can be a nice way to quiet everyone down for bed.
Have a plan for
dealing with sibling conflicts. Have clear consequences that are meaningful for
the age of your child. Isolation can be a helpful starting point and
restitution is also important. If they have spoken an unkind word to a sibling,
they can then make a card that contains five nice things about that sibling.
Early bedtime was the most effective strategy for my kids, they enjoyed reading
just before bed and were most reluctant to lose that special time.
Plan ahead, have a
few surprises and enjoy these precious weeks J
They live in the moment. They
want what they want right now. They see things in black and white. They love
repetition. They will put all the pegs into the container, and then take them
all out of the container, over and over. They love to ‘read’ their favourite
few books over and over and over. They enjoy having a daily pattern that is familiar
They learn through calmness and consistency.
So it is important to ensure that
a ‘yes’ is always a ‘yes’.
It is also important to ensure that a ‘no’ is always
Can they touch the remote control
for the TV? If your answer is always yes, or always no, they will quickly learn
to touch or not to touch the remote
control. If it sometimes a yes and sometimes a no, that is very confusing for
their developing minds. The same action sometimes receives a smile and praise,
and sometimes receives a frown and angry words. It seems unkind to them.
Can they jump on your bed? If the
answer is always yes, or always no, they will quickly learn to jump or not to
jump. If it is sometimes a yes and sometimes a no, they may jump when the bed
has just been made or if there is neatly folded washing on the end of the bed. The
same action sometimes receives a smile and attention, and sometimes receives a
shout and harsh words. It seems unkind to them.
Do they get what they are fussing
for when they throw a temper tantrum? If the answer is always yes or always no,
they will eventually learn to tantrum or not to tantrum. If it is sometimes a
yes and sometimes a no, then they will probably keep throwing tantrums in the
hope that this time might be a yes. Sometimes receiving a consequence and
sometimes not, is inconsistent and seems unkind.
Gentle authority that has clear
boundaries, of ‘yes’ and ‘no’, are kind to your toddler. They can feel safe and
secure knowing that yesterday’s boundaries are the same as today’s boundaries
and they will be the same as tomorrow’s boundaries too.
Most importantly, the toddler is
learning what your values are.
Is integrity important? Then your ‘yes’ will be ‘yes’
and your ‘no will be ‘no.