Ok troops, the summer holidays are upon us and whether you are the family that lives for the hols and gets really excited about having your kids at home, or you’re the family that gets to the start of the 6 weeks and stocks up on booze and a kalms, it’s here and it’s happening.
Most of us have had our kids at home now since March and with everything being so damn uncertain at the moment, I can’t help but feel a tickle of trepidation at the thought of having to entertain the kids for another 6 weeks WITHOUT my home school schedule and whilst I work. If you’re like me you’re probably not that confident about going to big indoor spaces like kid’s play areas, you might still be on the fence about busier outdoor places like beaches, so it’s really a case of trying to find a middle ground that suits you and your comfort zone for summer holidays during a pandemic.
Tip 1: Don’t compare
We all fall into this trap from time to time but please, whatever you do with your children, don’t compare it to that influencer on social media OR Sally down the road. Don’t do it. Comparison is the thief of joy and for me this has never been truer than during this pandemic. I find myself looking on social media at families that are booking trips abroad and I’m thinking “Am I being daft not doing this? Should I book something?” We’ve discussed and Adam and I just don’t feel that holidays abroad or really busy indoor places are right for us and our family at the moment, so comparison is futile.
Tip 2: Be early birds
I have discovered that the early bird really does get the worm with pandemic life – if you want to go out to somewhere like a well known park or beach, head out early doors. We’ve found that these places tend to be really quiet and only get busier around 10-11am, so we stay and leave once it’s busier, having had a great time in the meantime.
Tip 3: Look outdoors, you’re safer (and it’s often cheaper)
If you’re like us and you’re a bit unsure that things are safe at the moment, then seek out open spaces and stay outdoors. It doesn’t really matter where you live, there will be parks and places you can walk about and enjoy. If you’re central London, have a look at some of London’s iconic walks, grab some paper and get your kids to do a trail. I know it’s harder when you’re inner city, but getting outdoors is a great way to get out when you’re nervous. Try googling “hidden gems in *insert your area*” or “best outdoor places in *insert your area”. We’ve found some genuinely amazing places.
Tip 4: Embrace crafting or baking
Yes, I know. You might think you hate them but often you can find something that you actually don’t hate that much between the two things – maybe you’re like me and paint/glitter make you want to pressure wash the house, but actually, I can enjoy baking with the kids. I don’t especially like them helping me do dinner (although they do sometimes) but cakes and cookies I’m good at. Find a random recipe, make it and then have a picnic. Similarly with crafting – maybe you would enjoy a bigger project together that you can spread over a few days, something you wouldn’t have thought of. I made my boys a zoo once using some hardware ply wood and model crafting supplies. It took days but it was so worth it and loads of fun in the end.
Tip 5: Be brave
Maybe you’re really anxious about heading out but a trip to the zoo or somewhere you have to book could be a great way to get back into the swing of things. If you’re anxious, here are some extra things you might want to take:
- Face masks – if you’re going into shops etc, you now have to wear one (just put it on unless you have a medical reason not to Karen.)
- Hand sanitiser.
- Picnic, that way you don’t have to eat indoors. (don’t forget the drinks, I always do!)
Tip 6: Let them be bored and chill out
Look, boredom is not the end of the world – in fact some of the most fun my kids have had has come from when they are bored shitless and end up realising that they only have one another for the foreseeable future so might as well play. As for chilling out, relax those rules – maybe you would normally say no more than 60-90 mins of gaming or tv, but the truth is that fi you can’t get out and about and you’re not lucky enough to have a garden space, then perhaps its worth relaxing those rules and letting them crack on for a day. I’m not suggesting you let them sit in their room and zombify themselves, but just accepting that things are limited and you can’t help that can help you to cope with parenting through the summer holidays in a pandemic.
Tip 7: Just breathe. Tomorrow will be better.
Look, maybe it’s all a bit shit, maybe one of you is vulnerable and you’re finding getting out to be a real impossibility. Maybe you’re all cooped up and a bit stir crazy but honestly, it WILL get better. Life WILL move on and you can do this. Just. Breathe. There have been so many days in the last month where I have walked into my utility or toilet and sat on the floor with my head between my knees just trying to breathe and calm myself. If you find yourself in a similar position, walk away, put your head between your knees, breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, out through your mouth for 4 counts. You are going to be ok.